One of the most innovative novelties of the digital age is the personal assistant systems: Siri, Alexa and Google Home. These gadgets are voice activated with voice response answers. It's information at your beckon call. The data is being constantly updated so that you can be informed in real time. Want to know the weather forecast? Just ask. Want to know who won the academy award for best actress in 1953? Just ask. These systems specialize in trivia but can be programmed to help regulate home tasks like temperature and light control. They can remind you to pick the kids up from school or wake you up in the morning for work. They are always listening!
Remember Watson the IBM computer featured on Jeopardy? Watson was developed by IBM to challenge human competitors on the popular quiz show. Watson won hands down! Originally Watson was programmed with trivia for the sole purpose of competing in the show. It was later revealed that IBM’s supercomputer Watson could collect data equivalent to one million books per second. As Watson’s memory grows through the internet, it continues to collect and assimilate data at an astonishing rate. If you are an internet user or if any of your personal records have been entered into an internet database (medical or tax) there’s a good chance Watson or someone like Watson knows more about you than you would like. Maybe enough to control what you can buy or sell.
What seems to be practical technology, may be something much darker in the end. Mark Cuban, the billionaire tech guru, suggests that in the near future artificial intelligence will absorb all the jobs turning the human workforce into zombies with time on their hands. You could argue we have too much of that already. The most obvious fear is, who is in control of all that personal information?
In or around 90 AD, the apostle John was exiled to the small Greek island of Patmos by the Romans because of his Christian faith. While on Patmos he was given a vision from God relating to a future time when the Earth would find itself in preparation for the return of Jesus Christ. The vision would become the final book of the Bible. In his vision, John saw something he couldn't identify, so he called it an image. it was man-made, but it had a voice and could speak and had the ability to control what people did by using numbers.
“And he is given power to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast will even appear to speak. Also he compels all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, that no one will be able to buy or sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let the person who has enough insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.”(Rev. 13:15-18)
Could John's image be that of a super computer? For more about the end of this age read “Beam me up Commander” it's free.