Over the past few centuries, many have postulated who the Antichrist might be—speculating whether he would be a Muslim, Jew or professing Christian—but few people have ever wondered what he might be.
In this age of artificial intelligence (AI), some are wondering if the Antichrist might be some kind of super-intelligent hybrid human cyborg who will want to be worshipped.
Pastor and author Mark Biltz, who wrote Decoding the Antichrist and the End Times: What the Bible Says and What the Future Holds, is wondering the same thing.
In Decoding the Antichrist and the End Times, Biltz writes how top experts are warning about the malicious use of AI, as people are constantly bombarded with articles about how dictators could use autonomous killer drones with facial recognition to take out those who oppose them politically.
"With all the fake news, no one trusts our media anymore," Biltz writes. "The problem gets worse with altered photographs and manipulated videos on the rise, as seeing no longer means believing. With modern software, anyone who has something against you can change a selfie picture that you took and not only literally put words in your mouth but also move your mouth as well, making others think you were actually speaking those words!
"An article I read in The Los Angeles Times explained that the technology already exists to produce a fake video of a national leader announcing he or she just launched an attack on another country, or a fake video of a political candidate admitting to taking foreign cash," Biltz adds. "Imagine the ramifications of those kinds of scenarios. Sure, computer forensics might be able to eventually discover the difference between truth and fiction, but not in time to stop the damage that could be generated by fake videos. As the article put it, 'the damage could prove irreversible.'"
Besides pointing to an ABC report on how to spot "deepfake" videos, the author also notes that social media could be so flooded with doctored videos that no one would really know what was true and what was fake.
"Unable to discern what's a hoax and what isn't, we would find ourselves in a world where we dismiss what is real," Biltz says. "Another article, this one published by CNBC, reported that an expert declared that 'artificial intelligence could be 'billions of times smarter than humans' and we might find it necessary in the future to 'merge with computers to survive.' The article quoted Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who has warned us of a coming robot apocalypse, as saying there will need to be a link between AI and our brains for mankind to survive. A company called Neuralink, founded by Musk, is developing an ultra-high bandwidth brain-machine interface to connect humans and computers."
It is breathtaking to learn how advanced AI surveillance has become, Biltz says. Case in point, in China, hundreds of millions of AI cameras can catch a suspect within minutes. In several big cities, they even track and publicly shame jaywalkers by using cameras to scan their faces, identify them and then show their photos and personal information on large screens next to the crosswalks. Read firsthand accounts of surveillance in China in Wired.
"China combines this surveillance with analysis of its citizens' social media habits and online shopping purchases to determine which citizens' lifestyles are deemed to be more wholesome," Biltz writes in Decoding the Antichrist. "People in China are given a social credit score based on everything from what they post online to how quickly they pay their taxes and how they cross the street. Citizens who do not visit their parents or sort out their garbage into the appropriate recycling bins can be penalized and effectively frozen out by the state. Those with a low rating are blacklisted, meaning they are unable to book flights or purchase train tickets, they are prevented from renting or buying property and their children can't attend private schools.
"Meanwhile, people with higher scores are given perks like jumping the line for health care, discounted energy bills, lower interest rates and skipping deposits on apartments," he adds. "Higher scores will even boost your profile on China's largest online dating site! Millions of China's 1.4 billion citizens have already been given these social credit scores, and the list is expanding; their goal is to be nationwide by 2020. Imagine when every country adopts this type of policy. If the Christian lifestyle is deemed unwholesome and you get blacklisted, you won't even be able to access the internet or buy food."
Biltz also points to a Business Insider article that shares warnings from cybersecurity experts that robots or AI programs could mimic the writing styles and habits of millions of people by hacking emails, calendar and messages while pretending to be a certain person and sending malware to all contacts.
"They could literally learn your schedule and the subjects you talk about and send an email to one of your contacts pretending to be you!" he says. "Just like a virus that spreads worldwide, there could be huge ramifications for people who want their private life kept private.
"It is no longer difficult to imagine the Antichrist as some kind of hybrid human cyborg able to project himself all over the world at one time as a hologram that demands to be worshipped, with killer drones watching to be sure all orders are followed," Blitz continues. "With all the advances in technology—the ability to produce avatars, holograms and computer software installed in our bodies so our thoughts and emotions, as well as our purchases and our movements, can be monitored—there is no doubt that we are at the culmination of one age and entering the threshold of another."
Mark Biltz is founder of El Shaddai Ministries and a well-known and popular commentator on the feasts of the Lord. In fact, he has produced a series of DVDs on the feasts that have gone around the world. Biltz is also the author of Blood Moons and God's Day Timer. His research and theories have led to guest appearances on both radio and television as well as being featured on the covers of magazines.
Decoding the Antichrist and the End Times was released last month by Charisma House, which has published books that challenge, encourage, teach and equip Christians.
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