Robots: Killers or Pets? Either One Makes Us Less Human
The Image of the Beast
Revelation 13:14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. (15) And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
If you are a first time reader, I suggest that you read Singularity and The Image of the Beast about man merging with machines and Genetic Armageddon about man’s DNA being altered. Together they show scientists are on the verge of creating a transhuman: a beast that is part human and part something else. Creating a transhuman is right on top of us!
I believe that tampering with the integrity of man is a KEY sign of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. God will put a stop to this at His return. It appears from Revelation 13:15 that man will succeed in creating a transhuman, which the Bible calls “The Image of the Beast.” What I am posting is NOT science fiction.
From charting the advancement toward a transhuman being, it is possible to get an idea how close man is to God’s judgment. God must stop the creation of transhumans because these creatures are not created in His image and likeness; therefore, they cannot be redeemed through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
What I do in this blog is keep the reader on the cutting edge of technology advancements that are directly leading to the Image of the Beast. These advancements are reported under headings that include: Computer Brain, Digitized Mind, Robotic Body, Cyborg, Genetic Armageddon, Chimera, and Advanced Technology.
This blog is the complement to the “666 Surveillance System” which focuses on technological innovations leading to the rise of a government so repressive and controlling that it’s called a “Beast” state.
Revelation 22:20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
Robotics is one area where science is making extraordinary leaps. While they’re being pushed in the public arena as marvels that can do away with boring, repetitive tasks for humans, humanity is losing more than it gains through the development of such technological creatures.
The U.S., through DARPA, along with other governments are developing “killer robots” which can act on their own without need for a human control. Even futurist Ray Kurzweil, now head of product development at Google, has warned that this could become our biggest nightmare. Last year the UN high representative for disarmament stated that we were a mere step from their creation and called for governments to work toward a ban on them. But her calls have been ignored. Britain, for instance, responded that it “reserves the right” to develop them for protection of their own troops.
While they aren’t the only threat to humanity, with the development of AI, they are certainly near the top of the list. That also is acknowledged by Martin Rees, a co-founder of the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, who is profiled below. He sees a future where unlimited technology will be widespread and therefore, even more dangerous. At a recent TED talk, (see the video below) he stated, “The global village will have its village idiots, and they’ll have a global range.”
But even in less threatening forms like robotic pets, there still is a downside. One article below notes how popular these “pets” have become in Japan, and that when the circuits die, some owners have grieved enough to hold funerals. There’s something perverse in that. It may be more convenient to have a pet that never has needs, only communicates in programmed ways, and has a guaranteed lifespan, but our interaction with animals is one way we develop empathy and compassion. That is missing with a robot dog. Then too, there is a glut of unwanted pets already, so that millions of cats and dogs are destroyed each year at shelters. That only will increase.
Making autonomous robots, whether they appear in human-like or animal-like forms is a step too far. It’s one more attempt of mankind to see themselves as gods, remaking Creation in its own image, just as God created humankind in His image. But in the end what they do is make us less like gods by making us less than human.
We’ll be “protected” from the things that develop character, like boring tasks, and we’ll be more isolated from interactions that make us most like God. Compassion, bonding, empathy and love for creatures which are different from us, but which have personalities and needs of their own to which we respond, result from those interactions. We’ll lose all of those things. And finally, robots will soon have the potential to be instruments of terror and destruction, because we already have lost many of those traits. It’s leading to a world where the image of the beast will be readily accepted by the masses; they’re being prepared for it now.
Romans 1:22-23 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
Astronomer Royal Martin Rees: How soon will robots take over the world? This is an incredibly good article that goes far deeper than robotics. It actually covers almost all of the areas that we’ve been discussing in this blog, from biohacking to robotics to computers, etc. I’d recommend it for anyone who is interested in seeing the overall big picture, through the eyes of one of Britain’s top scientists. Although Lord Rees is not a man of faith, neither is he one of those touting the unlimited, wonderful possibilities of emerging technology. Rather, he expresses deep concerns and wrestles with the moral implications.
“An explosion in artificial intelligence has sent us hurtling towards a post-human future, warns Martin Rees. There is nothing new about machines that can surpass our mental abilities in special areas. Even the pocket calculators of the Seventies could do arithmetic better than us. In the Nineties, IBM’s “Deep Blue” chess-playing computer beat Garry Kasparov, then the world champion.
We’re witnessing a momentous speed-up in artificial intelligence (AI) – in the power of machines to learn, communicate and interact with us. Computers don’t learn like we do: they use “brute force” methods. They learn to translate from foreign languages by reading multilingual versions of, for example, millions of pages of EU documents (they never get bored). They learn to recognise dogs, cats and human faces by crunching through millions of images — not the way a baby learns.
Deep Mind…created a machine that can figure out the rules of all the old Atari games without being told, and then play them better than humans. It’s still hard for AI to interact with the everyday world. Robots remain clumsy – they can’t tie your shoelaces or cut your toenails. But sensor technology, speech recognition, information searches and so forth are advancing apace.
Google’s driverless car has already covered hundreds of thousands of miles. But can it cope with emergencies? For instance, if an obstruction suddenly appears on a busy road, can the robotic “driver” discriminate whether it’s a paper bag, a dog or a child? The likely answer is that it won’t cope as well as a really good driver, but will be better than the average driver — machine errors may occur but not as often as human error. The roads will be safer. But when accidents occur they will create a legal minefield. Who should be held responsible — the “driver”, the owner, or the designer?
And what about the military use of autonomous drones? Can they be trusted to seek out a targeted individual and decide whether to deploy their weapon? Who has the moral responsibility then?”
“Robots, called LAWS – lethal autonomous weapons systems – will be able to kill without human intervention. Two programmes commissioned by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) are seeking to create drones which can track and kill targets even when out of contact with their handlers.
Writing in the journal Nature, Stuart Russell, Professor…[at] Berkley, said the research could breach the Geneva Convention and leave humanity in the hands of amoral machines. “Autonomous weapons systems select and engage targets without human intervention; they become lethal when those targets include humans,” he said.
“Existing AI and robotics components can provide physical platforms, perception, motor control, navigation, mapping, tactical decision-making and long-term planning. They just need to be combined. “In my view, the overriding concern should be the probable endpoint of this technological trajectory.
“Despite the limits imposed by physics, one can expect platforms deployed in the millions, the agility and lethality of which will leave humans utterly defenceless. This is not a desirable future.” Professor Russell said: “LAWS could violate fundamental principles of human dignity by allowing machines to choose whom to kill — for example, they might be tasked to eliminate anyone exhibiting ‘threatening behaviour’.
Will robot pets replace the real thing? There has been an incredible amount of research done on pets, especially dogs, in recent years. We’re learning how they think, what they think, how bonded they are with us, and numerous other things about their emotions and behavior. (See our health blog posts: “Understanding and Bonding Between Pets and Their Owners, Part 1 and Part 2″) or go to God’s Health System and scroll down. Robotic pets promise to be the next craze because they don’t require the care of a real pet, but as we noted in the Commentary, bonding with a robotic dog diminishes our humanity, even as it adds to the glut of unwanted animals in the world.
“Pets will soon become a luxury in an overpopulated, high-density world and the future may lie in robot pets that mimic the real thing. “It might sound surreal for us to have robotic or virtual pets, but it could be totally normal for the next generation,” Rault said.
“If 10 billion human beings live on the planet in 2050 as predicted, it’s likely to occur sooner than we think. We are already seeing people form strong emotional bonds with robot dogs in Japan. “Pet robotics has come a long way from the Tamagotchi craze of the mid-1990s. In Japan, people are becoming so attached to their robot dogs that they hold funerals for them when the circuits die.
“You won’t find a lot of research on pet robotics out there, but if you Google robot dogs, there are countless patents. Everyone wants to get ahead of this thing because there is a market and it will take off in the next 10 to 15 years.”
“Robots can, without a doubt, trigger human emotions,” Rault added. “If artificial pets can produce the same benefits we get from live pets, does that mean that our emotional bond with animals is really just an image that we project on to our pets? “Of course we care about live animals, but if we become used to a robotic companion that doesn’t need food, water or exercise, perhaps it will change how humans care about other living beings.”
Rault says robot pets of the future could learn to think and respond on their own.
“When engineers work on robotic dogs, they work on social intelligence, they address what people need from their dogs: companionship, love, obedience, dependence,” he said. “They want to know everything about animal behavior so they can replicate it as close as possible to a real pet.”
Cute and Smart Sony Robot Dog Aibo ERS-7.MP4 This video shows one of Sony’s newer robot dogs. Unlike earlier versions, this one can respond and move on his own, without control by a human operator. Personally, I find it hard to warm up to one of these mechanical marvels.
Making robots more human by detecting human emotions It’s easy to project into the near future and see the beast’s image developing from just such technological advances, whether through cyborgs or through lifelike, AI robots.
“Stretchable, ultrasensitive strain sensors could provide a simple, low-cost way for robots to detect emotions
If robots could detect human emotions, it might make them more “human.” That’s the premise of new research by Korean scientists, who have developed simple, low-cost, ultra-sensitive wearable strain sensors that can detect facial expressions.
This kind if detection is normally done with vision sensors connected to a computer, with facial-analysis algorithms, but such systems are expensive and have low mobility and high complexity, the researchers note in a paper published in ACS Nano.
Instead, the researchers created a stretchable, transparent sensor by layering a carbon-nanotube film on two different kinds of electrically conductive elastomers. They found that changes in resistance values could indicate whether subjects were laughing or crying and where they were looking, based on characteristic patterns of resistance change.”
The rise of the machines: It is okay to torture a robot? This article also includes a video, “MIT researcher tries to measure emotions toward robots.” While she argues that people bond to robots which appear cute or cuddly, I’d note that this seems to strengthen the ideas in the Commentary, above, that we have the most empathy when we’re dealing with living creatures, not robots. Her experiments show that children most quickly shied away from hurting living hamsters, then robotic ones after they explicitly cried out they were being hurt. But most robots won’t awaken our emotions by doing that.
“For [MIT’s Katie] Darling, our reaction to robot cruelty is important because a new wave of machines is forcing us to reconsider our relationship with them. When Darling described her Pleo experiment at a lecture, she made the case that mistreating certain kinds of robots could soon become unacceptable and abusive in the eyes of society.
She even believes that we may need a set of ‘robot rights’. Until not long ago, the idea of robot rights had been left to the science fiction writers. Perhaps that’s because the machines around us have been unsophisticated. Nobody feels anxious about throwing away a toaster or a remote-control toy car, the situation changes when it comes to modern so-called ‘social robots’.
In an experiment conducted in 2011, children were asked to hold upside down a Barbie doll, a hamster and a Furby toy for as long as they felt comfortable. While the children held the doll upside down until their arms got tired, they soon stopped torturing the wriggling hamster, and after a little while, the Furby too.
They were old enough to know the Furby was a toy, but couldn’t stand the way it was programmed to cry and say ‘Me scared’.”
Robot Tongue Identifies The Correct Beer Every Time I wonder what brand beer will be the Image of the Beast’s favorite?
“Machines mimicking a human’s sense of taste are going on a beer-tasting binge. Despite being called electronic tongues, these devices aren’t party robots, pouring beer onto wagging, mechanical tongues. “It’s just a bunch of wires and buttons and computers,”
However it looks, Méndez and colleagues developed an electronic tongue that accurately distinguished between four styles of lager beer 100 percent of the time. A variety of screen-printed sensors “taste” electrochemical compounds in the beer to predict the brews’ color index and alcoholic strength 76 percent and 86 percent of the time. The new robot taster contributes to a growing field of electronic tongue and nose development meant to improve quality control in the food industry.”
“As a rule, robots have to learn through explicit instruction, whether it’s through new programming, watching videos or holding their hands. UC Berkeley’s BRETT (Berkeley Robot for the Elimination of Tedious Tasks) isn’t nearly that dependent, however. The machine uses neural network-based deep learning algorithms to master tasks through trial and error, much like humans do. Ask it to assemble a toy and it’ll keep trying until it understands what works. In theory, you’d rarely need to give the robot new code — you’d just make requests and give the automaton enough time to figure things out.”
“Television, cellphones, radio, WiFi—modern civilization converses in radio waves. Most of us need some kind of device to translate the signals into something we can consume on a screen or through a speaker. But in the television show, Alphas, one of the characters, Gary Bell, can literally see and read electromagnetic waves.
In the show, Bell’s ability is a fictional superpower—but the larger point? The world is brimming with information invisible to our fairly limited senses. A new project, Phantom Terrains aims to make us all a little bit more like Gary Bell.
The project is a collaboration between Frank Swain and Daniel Jones. Swain, a writer, suffers from progressive hearing loss and recently got hearing aids…The two got together and hacked Swain’s hearing aids to not only augment his hearing, but give him another sense entirely.
The hacked hearing aids pick up WiFi signals and translate network identifiers, data rates, and encryption modes into sounds. Combined, they make for a unique audio fingerprint that can be recognized, granting a sense of a city’s “invisible data topographies” as they walk the streets.”
How to make a DNA double helix from jelly babies and liquorice (and extract it from kiwi fruit at home) This is a fun article that shows how to make a passable model of DNA from candies, and how to extract DNA from kiwi fruit on your own with a few common items like dish washing liquid, table salt, a blender and vodka (or surgical spirits). Either venture would be a great way to teach children about science.
“Sixty years ago today the journal Nature published a single-page article containing a solitary figure of two intertwined ribbons. This image, or versions of it, are now so familiar that they are probably the most recognised chemical structure. The article, of course, described the double helix of deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA.
n my opinion, the reason why DNA is such a recognisable molecule is its beautiful simplicity – which also means it is easy to construct models from materials at hand, just as Watson and Crick did. In fact, you can make passable models of DNA with paper, K’nex or Lego, but my favourite molecular modelling materials can be bought at any sweet shop.
So here’s how to make jelly baby and liquorice DNA.”
Revelation 14:9-11 … If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.