Awaken Biblical Prophecy Commentary – Surveillance, AI, & A Child of God

Awaken Biblical Prophecy Commentary – Surveillance, AI, & A Child of God




There have been a lot of factors lately that have gotten me thinking about the surveillance state and the role of artificial intelligence as it grows more potent.  Intimately coupled with these highly intrusive technologies are the concepts of power and authority.  For the Christian, we must consider our response to these issues as the world grows darker, yet knowing the urgency of the hour to accomplish what God would have each of us do in these times.

There’s been a plethora of information about AI that really got rolling when ChapGPT was introduced.  Google Bard – just renamed Gemini – came along and now there are AIs for many specialized activities such as artwork and even for creating lifelike videos from whole cloth.  What’s real and what’s not is becoming a very hot topic.  Do you remember the whole Deep Fake problem that has arisen in recent years?  AI is making that look like child’s play.

Complicating the artificial intelligence picture is the disturbing fact that these AIs simply make things up, apparently based on their garbage woke programming inputs.  ChapGPT had a meltdown on February 20-21 “that had it confusing and confounding users by spouting gibberish and other strangeness including unprompted pseudo-Shakespeare.”  The most amusing instance was with Google’s Bard/Gemini in which it was “roasted for producing ‘diverse’ image results that show things like black Vikings and other historically inaccurate depictions.”  It seems to have a problem recognizing white people historically, and is determined to place black, Asian, and other nationalities in their places in events of the past where that is clearly inappropriate. Among other images Gemini displayed when asked for a picture of a pope was a black Mother Theresa type woman and something like a black African bishop.  If you go to the link I provide, you’ll see the various amusing results.

But, of course, it really is dangerous.  What happens when these AIs gain greater legitimacy in our society?  What happens when we turn to them for direction, and they decide that for the world to be diverse, no white people should be allowed to exist?

I started thinking more about this subject when my wife and I began streaming the TV series Person of Interest.  As of this writing, we’re careening toward the fifth season and the end.  If you’re not familiar with the series, it centers around The Machine that a brilliant computer scientist programmed to help our government identify and target terrorists so as to remove them as a threat.  This involved massive surveillance by tapping into all possible public and private video sources plus many other inputs.  The identification of individuals comprising this terrorist threat group were considered “relevant.”  Everyone else was “irrelevant” even if such a person was in mortal danger.

The builder of The Machine couldn’t countenance the irrelevant aspect, so he had the system send him the irrelevant information.  By design, the only information he or the government would purposefully receive was a social security number – no names or other information.  Upon receipt of that number, work had to be done to take the identity further for subsequent action, i.e. eliminating the relevant terrorist, or dealing with the irrelevant circumstances outside of terrorist activities of someone killing others or being a victim of someone else.

When Finch – the programmer-inventor designed the system, after realizing the power inherent in his creation to go rogue, he created safeguards in the computer code so that it would only work for the good of mankind.

As you can imagine, various factions around the world wanted access to The Machine.  At one point, the AI “knew” it was in danger of being compromised and arranged to move itself to a secure location that no human could find.  This independence leading to autonomous action outside of the direction of humans indicated that The Machine had gained a level of self-awareness, especially for self-preservation.

Well, time has passed, and another machine has been built.  But this one has no guardrails – no programming restraints, and it wants to take out its rival so as to gain absolute dominion in the world.  Worse, this machine, named Samaritan, is under the auspices – control would be an inaccurate word – of bad guys.  It even does controlled experiments with entire towns to see how people react – so as to learn more about human responses to different stimuli – all that it might better exert absolute control over humanity at some future time.

There was a 1970 movie titled Colossus – The Forbin Project, in which the American government had a super AI computer.  Then it was learned that the Russians had one also.  Rather than the computers clashing with each, they decided to collaborate and take over the world.  That’s on the level of what Samaritan in Person of Interest looks like it wants to do.

Adding to my intrigue in this area, I’ve been reading a fictional series called The Fourth Realm Trilogy by John Twelve Hawks, the first book of which is The Traveler.  Hawks is a pseudonym, as the author is keeping his real identity private.  He creates in these books a paranoid and schizophrenic dystopian thriller where all data of every sort imaginable is gobbled up by – in this case – The Vast Machine.  Escaping the constant AI surveillance is very difficult, since Big Brother is more than alive and well.  But in the story, there are those who resist.  The struggle between those who want some semblance of life without an AI and its cameras tracking their every move, and those who do, makes up the extremely fast-moving thriller storyline.

One of the concepts the author expounds on is what he calls the Virtual Panopticon.  The idea of the panopticon originally came from philosopher Jeremy Bentham in the 1800s for construction of a model prison.  Here is John Twelve Hawks describing this in an extended essay titled Against Authority:

Using a central tower and a system of shutters, the guards in Bentham’s prison could watch the prisoners without being seen. In The Traveler, a young man named Michael encounters an elaborate model of the Panopticon and a former army general named Kennard Nash explains the implications of its design:

 Nash stepped closer to the model and studied it carefully. “Each room is a cell with thick enough walls so there can’t be communication between the prisoners. Light comes from the outside so the prisoner is always back-lit and visible.”

 “And the guards are in the tower?”

 “Bentham called it an inspection lodge.”

 “Looks like a maze.”

 “That’s the cleverness of the Panopticon. It’s designed so that you can never see the face of your guard or hear him moving about. Think of the implications, Michael. There can be twenty guards in the tower or one guard or no guards at all. It doesn’t make a difference. The prisoner must assume that he’s being watched all the time. After awhile, that realization becomes part of the prisoner’s consciousness.”

In the transcript of this Commentary, I’ve included a popular diagram of the Panopticon.

The point that John Twelve Hawks makes is that our modern surveillance state is like that.  We are the prisoners.  The global elite, the Deep State, the government, or whomever you’d like to identify as having the power to create and use such a system, are those in the central tower.  The data is too vast for people to monitor, which is where AI comes in.  We never know who is watching, or even if they are watching, but they have that capability.  Life goes on and we simply accept that fact while also forgetting it.  When the circumstances warrant, those with this power can act against us.

We see this already heavily at play in China.  It is being set-up against us in the Western world via social credit scores and digital money.  At some point the world under the control of this system will be totally at the mercy of Antichrist.  All the pieces are just about in place, if not already firmly anchored where they need to be.

What happens in this true-life scenario if and when the AI gains sentience and makes its own decisions outside the purview of the humans that created it?  More alarming is the probability – if it hasn’t already happened – of demonic forces becoming the sentience in the AI.  Maybe you’ve heard the term: The Ghost in the Machine?  A demonic Wizard, so to speak, behind the curtain, which appears to be machine intelligence, is really much more.  That will make Oz, i.e. the reality in which we live, interesting on that day, won’t it?

Such technology by those who have the power to implement it begs the question: Will humanity submit to this presumed authority?  During COVID, most of the world decided that the authority wielded by the government, the medical establishment, and the media was valid.  They all knew what was better for us, so why wouldn’t we do what they said?  Namely, follow the ER protocol of not going to the hospital until really sick, wear useless masks, social distance as though our being a few feet apart would protect us, and then as Operation Warp Speed came along, blindly submit to the untested vaccine, plus boosters!  We gave the establishment the authority to experiment on humanity rather than retaining our own bodily integrity.

The potential for us to resist this Vast Machine of surveillance and control comes about to a limited degree by, instead of free will, by what John Twelve Hawks terms as the power of “free won’t.”  In other words, “I won’t submit to your usurpation of authority.  You may have the power, but you don’t have my permission.”

Unfortunately, in this day and age, this capability of saying no to the intrusiveness of surveillance and control is limited.  How do you get away from it?  Some attempt that by going off the Grid.  But even this presumed escape in the days ahead may not be as effective as people suppose.  If the authorities want to find and track you in the future, they will.

This issue of “free won’t” also comes into play with people’s response to God.  In their self-determination, they decide they won’t freely surrender to Him; rather they want to be their own god and not beholden to anyone.  Of course, what they don’t realize is that when they reject God, they embrace Satan.  Rather than having freedom in Christ, they have the chains of bondage to sin, with the ultimate result being cast in the hellhole of the Lake of Fire forever, with no hope of escape.  In other words, by claiming freedom now, they subject themselves to an eternal prison at some future point.

This brings us to the Christian response to AI surveillance.  In this increasingly constrained world where our every movement, word, and even our thoughts, are subject to those who have deemed themselves our overlords, what do we do who love the Lord?

Now is not the time to capitulate to the world.  All this that is happening around us is for a reason.  Jesus roundly criticized the Pharisees for not knowing the season and the time.  That should be a wake-up call to the church, but by and large, it hasn’t been.  Of all peoples in this earth, those who profess the Name of Jesus should understand where the events happening worldwide lead.  Yet, excuses are made, scenarios are imagined, and new doctrines are brought forth, all contrary to the will and intent of God.

Among these are the following: “I don’t have time to read my Bible.”  “I can’t read with understanding, so I make no effort at all to find a way to absorb God’s Word.”  “The world is getting better and better because Christians are winning the Seven Mountain Mandate.  Soon we’ll be prominent in every area of society and prepare the way for Jesus to return.”  “Social justice is what Jesus was all about.  He gets us, and so we should be tolerant and accepting of homosexuality, abortion, and New Ages practices.”

Isn’t that right?  There’s always something that keeps us from pursuing God in His way.  Yet when we’re deliberate, persistent, and disciplined in reading God’s Word, that pleases Him.  I’m not talking about a legalistic approach where we trudge to our easy chair each day with an I have to mentality.  No, we go there eager to see and hear what God has fresh and anew for us in His Word this day.

In our little circle, we’ve been doing a Bible study for much of the year when we’re not on the road.  One of our friends in that group texted me, all excited, because she had completed reading her entire Bible in a year.  That’s what I’m talking about!  We should be so desirous of connecting with God on a deeper level that we’re drawn to Him, and we engage Him because we want to.  We want to have that reverent fear of Him that’s so missing in the church today.  We want to be lovingly obedient.  When the prophet in 1 Samuel 15:22 said to King Saul:

“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
as in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
and to listen than the fat of rams.”

. . . this was integral to what he meant.  Sacrifice in our context is the legalistic approach to our Bible reading.  When we do that, the odds are great that when we hit Leviticus or Numbers the plan to read the entire Bible goes out the window.  But when we obey through a heartfelt desire to please God, look at how it pleases Him.

So, what should we do as the walls close around us and the ceiling seems to be lowering?  Will we be crushed by the world and the rising beast system, or will we always be free regardless of the circumstances because we are in Christ?

A child of God sees and understands what’s going on around him, but it doesn’t matter.  There is joy in the Lord.  Just as our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ in 10-40 Window nations are often terribly mistreated and find themselves in horrific conditions in a prison cell, they are not bound, because they use the opportunity to tell others about their Savior.

The world can harm our bodies, but God preserves our souls, and that’s a much better deal.

In these last hours as the Virtual Panopticon spies on everything you do, the Vast Machine gobbles up all possible data about us, and Satan’s minions work overtime to snare you, isn’t this the time to both laugh and grieve?  We laugh because nothing they do can harm us who love the Lord, and we grieve because the fate of those who despise Him is too awful to contemplate.

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.

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