Evidence of the surrender of the human will to technology is all around you — artificial intelligence, sex robots, algorithms, social credit scores, self-driving cars, automated baristas — pick your poison. (Ask Alexa if you want more choices.)
It appears that modern humans find the tasks of daily life too burdensome to be handled without the assistance of computerized technology.
The latest evidence was just reported by the New York Post in a July 14 story titled “Swedes are getting implants in their hands to replace cash, credit cards”:
Thousands of people in Sweden are having futuristic microchips implanted into their skin to carry out everyday activities and replace credit cards and cash.
More than 4,000 people have already had the sci-fi-ish chips, about the size of a grain of rice, inserted into their hands — with the pioneers predicting millions will soon join them as they hope to take it global.
I’m not going to get into a deep biblical discussion this morning, but many of you know about the prophecy on the Book of Revelations about the mark of the Beast.
In essence, Chapter 13 describes the coming of anti-Christ — a beast-like creature that wields incredible power over mankind, and in particular, controls the economy in the end times. Here is the relevant scripture:
“… he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” (Revelations 13: 16-17)
It is a sign of the times that the author of the Post story never mentions either the “Mark of the Beast” or that many people believe the biblical prophecy refers to just such a microchip implant to regulate commerce. But let’s forget about the supernatural aspects, or the implications for Christianity, and just focus on the danger of surrendering our economic independence to a technological innovation controlled by global forces.
Ben Libberton, a British scientist based in Sweden, told The Post he was excited by the technology, but did foresee potential dangers.
“The problem is, who owns this data?” he asked. “Do I get a letter from my insurance company saying premiums are going up before I know I’m ill? If I use the chip to buy lunch, go to the gym and go to work, will someone have all of this info about me? Is this stored and is it safe?”
Libberton added, “It’s not just about the chip, but integration with other systems and data sharing.”
And he fears Swedes are not giving enough thought to the potential dangers.
“People have shown they’re happy to give up privacy for convenience,” he said. “The chip is very convenient, so could we accept our data being shared very widely before we know the risks?”
Let’s just talk about the risks to our economic freedom first. Suppose paper currency has been eliminated, and the only means you have at your disposal to buy food or pay rent is the microchip in your hand. What happens if you lose your job? Will you be able to have a yard sale to raise money to feed your children? Or will you be totally dependent on the latest version of Google or Amazon? Will you be a virtual slave in a virtual economy? Facebook is introducing Libra, its new crypto currency, that will put Mark Zuckerberg in your bedroom, kitchen and car with you. He will know more about you than you do.
What happens if someone hacks into your microchip and depletes your credits? How do you survive such an attack? What if the chip does indeed become a monitor of your health? What if it can control your internal bodily functions? Are you going to allow Zuckerberg to inject you with dopamine in the morning? I suppose a compliant consumer is a good consumer.
This is the stuff of dystopian science fiction. We have already largely surrendered our privacy to Big Brother. Unless we intend to surrender our independence as well, we had better put the brakes on the irrational technology exuberance that would have us hand over our very bodies to corporate (if not government) control.
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