He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.Revelation 13:16-17
There’s a popular phrase “know the past, and you understand the future”. It can also be said to be true that if you know what’s in the future, you could also predict what is about to happen in the present or soon.
Yuval Noah Harari (born 1976) is an Israeli public intellectual, historian and a professor in the Department of History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is the author of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (2014), Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (2016), and 21 Lessons for the 21st Century (2018). His writings examine free will, consciousness, intelligence, happiness and suffering.
He is also a philosopher, and he is considered one of the world’s most influential public intellectuals today.
In a talk show hosted by the World Economic Forum not too long ago, Professor Harari gave some candid opinions on what the global COVID pandemic is likely to be all about, as he describes what humanity should be expecting to happen to our world, from the lens of a non-Christian (that is).
Although from the biblical perspective, I do not agree with Harari that what he envisioned will likely happen in our lifetime or even at all, but I do have to concede that humanity’s determination described by Dr Harari, in wanting to get there, i.e. to be like God, is highly ambitious and bold towards achieving absolute, totalitarian human control via the use of currently available technology.
No, I don’t think Dr Harari is referring to hardware computing technology that are found in our homes today or even those deployed at cloud computing data centers worldwide. He is more likely talking about quantum computing, which is a type of computation that harnesses the collective properties of quantum states, such as superposition, interference, and entanglement, to perform mathematical calculations. And these devices that perform quantum computations are known as quantum computers and their ability at processing information, far supersedes the speeds of those hardware that are currently used by us today.
The Bible said in Revelation 13:16-17, He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
Watch the video and connect the rest of the dots on your own.
Dr Yuval Noah Harari at The World Economic Forum
Excerpts from Professor Dr Harari’s talk show at the World Economic Forum.
I think, maybe a couple of decades (from now), when people look back, the thing they will remember from the COVID crisis, this is the moment when everything went digital, and this was the moment when everything became monitored.
To understand how the virus works, forget about the pandemic. Just understanding what a virus is, it’s not even a living organism, it’s a piece of code that manages to take over your body. How does it work, is so complicated. (It is) much easier to believe that there are a bunch of billionaires, who created this epidemic in a lab to take over the world.
I think, maybe a couple of decades (from now), when people look back, the thing they will remember from the COVID crisis, this is the moment when everything went digital, and this was the moment when everything became monitored. That we agreed to be surveyed all the time, not just in totalitarian regimes but even in democracies, and maybe more importantly at all, this was the moment when surveillance started going under the skin. Because really we haven’t seen anything yet. I think the big process that is happening right now in the world is; hacking human beings, the ability to hack humans, to understand deeply what’s happening within you, what makes you go.
And for that, the most important data is not what you read or who you meet or what you buy, it’s what’s happening inside your body. So we have these two big revolutions, the computer science revolution or the info-tech revolution, and the revolution in the biological sciences. And they are (presently) still separate, but they are about to merge. They are merging around, I would say, around the “biometric sensor”.
So this is the crucial revolution and COVID is critical because this is what convinces people to accept, to legitimize total biometric surveillance. If you want to stop this epidemic, we need (more than) just to monitor people, (but) we need to (also) monitor what is under the skin. Like the body temperature, when we walk in here, we have to go through a body temperature test.
It’s the thing, it’s the gadget, it’s the technology that converts biological data into digital data, that can (then) be analyzed by computers. And having the ability to really monitor people under the skin, this is the biggest game changer of all. Because this is the key from getting to know people better than they know themselves. I often give the example from my own personal life, that I realize I was gay, only when I was twenty-one. And I keep thinking about the time when I was fifteen, sixteen, how could I have missed it? Something so important about myself, it is obvious, but I didn’t know.
Now today, or in five or ten years, any algorithm, of Microsoft or Amazon or the government, would be able to know such a thing when I am twelve or thirteen. Just like monitor(ing), what’s happening in my body, what’s happening to my eyes, when I, let’s say I see a boy and a girl walking on the beach, where do my eyes focus. So this is the crucial revolution and COVID is critical because this is what convinces people to accept, to legitimize total biometric surveillance. If you want to stop this epidemic, we need (more than) just to monitor people, (but) we need to (also) monitor what is under the skin. Like the body temperature, when we walk in here, we have to go through a body temperature test.
I’m not against surveillance, (in fact) it is an important tool, especially to fight epidemics. The question is who is doing it and how. If you give it to a security service to do it, that’s extremely dangerous. Yes, now they are using it to see whether you have the coronavirus. But the same exact technology, can determine what you think about the government.
You know, anger is a biological phenomenon, just like disease. It is not some spiritual thing out there. It’s a biological part of your body. With this kind of surveillance, (if) you watch the big president the big leader give a speech on television, the television could be monitoring you and knowing whether you are angry or not, just by analyzing the cues, the biological cues coming from your body.
So (for example) people are watching us now online all over the world, (watching) this conversation. Maybe even right now, people who are watching us are being watched and analyzed. And you know, the thing is, it is not just you’re now watching this. The thing is, we know you are watching this, and we also know how you feel. Are you angry about what you hear, are you frightened, (or) are you bold.
And COVID is important because COVID legitimizes some (of the) crucial steps (to achieve this totalitarian control), even in democratic countries.
This is the kind of power that Stalin didn’t have, you know when Stalin gave a speech everybody clapped their hands and smiled. But how do you know what they really think about Stalin? (It’s) very difficult. You can’t have KGB agent(s) following everybody all the time. Even if you do it, he’s just watching your outside behavior. He doesn’t really know what’s happening in your mind. But in ten years, the future “Stalins” of the twenty-first century, they could be watching the minds, the brains of all the population all the time, and also they will have the computing power to analyze all that.
It’s not just having an agent following everybody all the time, the agent in Stalin’s days, writes the paper report, and you have these millions of paper reports piling up in Moscow, (and) somebody needs to read them and to analyze them. That’s impossible. Now (with technology) you don’t need human agents, you don’t need human analyzers, you just have a lot of sensors, and an AI (artificial intelligence) that analyzes it, and that’s it. You have the worse totalitarian regime in human history. And COVID is important because COVID legitimizes some (of the) crucial steps (to achieve this totalitarian control), even in democratic countries.