Technology, Culture, Science, and Beyond By Ron Frey
How is your foresight on technology, culture, and science?
As the leader of a Christian ministry, how well are you keeping up to date on where technology, culture, and science are taking us right now?
Electronic Tech Evolution
Elon Musk’s company, Tesla, is named after the famed inventor Nikola Tesla, born in 1856. He was a man who was way ahead of his time. Tesla’s 287 patents included wireless technology back in the 1890s, and many of his other inventions contributed to the widespread use of electronic devices for many commercial and personal applications.
He speculated, “Alpha waves in the human brain are between 6 and 8 hertz. The wave frequency of the human cavity resonates between 6 and 8 hertz. All biological systems operate in the same frequency range. The human brain’s alpha waves function in this range and the electrical resonance of the earth is between 6 and 8 hertz. Thus, our entire biological system – the brain and the earth itself – work on the same frequencies. If we can control that resonate system electronically, we can directly control the entire mental system of humankind.” Tesla thus predicted: “When wireless is fully applied, the earth will be converted into a huge brain, capable of response in every one of its parts.”
Honestly, I don’t precisely know what Tesla had in mind when he said this before his death in 1946, but he certainly had a futuristic sense of where it could go. And now, here we are in 2022, amazed at where technology has taken us so far and awestruck by where it could go next. For example, today’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies are still in their infancy but advancing at such a rate that many more human tasks will be replaced by robots and computers. Even higher-level thinking tasks such as writing, diagnosing diseases, and programming computers can be done through AI. Who knows, I may ask AI to write my next CLA blog or you may use it to write your next direct mail letter!
In his book, 2084: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humanity, John Lennox describes our dilemma as being caught somewhere between the Orwellian ideas of “blanket surveillance in a totalitarianism state” to the benefits AI can bring to our lives through digital assistance, medical breakthroughs and human enhancement. He quotes UK Astronomer Royal Lord Rees who takes it a step further: “Abstract reasoning by biological brains has underpinned the emergence of all culture and science. But this activity – spanning tens of millennia at most – will be a brief precursor to the intellects of the inorganic post-human era. So, in the far future, it won’t be the minds of humans, but those of machines that will fully understand the cosmos.”
Futurist Sam Altman, believes that “an inorganic post-human era,” also known as “The Merge” is happening now. He writes: “A popular topic in Silicon Valley is talking about what year humans and machines will merge (or, if not what year humans will get surpassed by rapidly improving AI or a genetically enhanced species.) Most guesses seem to be between 2025 and 2075.”
He continues, “I believe the merge has already started and we are a few years in. Our phones control us and tell us what to do when; social media feeds determine how we feel; search engines decide what we think. The algorithms that make all this happen are no longer understood by any one person. They optimize for what their creators tell them to optimize for, but in ways that no human could future out – they are what today seems like sophisticated AI, and tomorrow will seem like child’s play.”
If it’s not, “The Merge” there is also what’s called “the Great Transition” as a social-economic construct of a new world that is socially equitable, culturally enriched, and ecologically resilient, to replace the conventional triad of individualism, consumerism, and domination over nature. They dream of redesigning government and economic institutions and systems to achieve their economic, social, and environmental values.
A Kingdom With The King
When you read their stuff, it seems like what they want is something like the “Kingdom of God” but without the King! I’m not a humanistic futurist, but I’m beginning to pay closer attention to what they have to say. Not because I necessarily agree with them, but because I believe our proclamation of the Kingdom of God is for them and the millions of people who are being influenced by their ideas. Our “mission field” must include those on the forward edge of science and technology as much as an indigenous tribe.
Subduing Innovation for a Greater Good
As a Christian leader, what is your view of the future of evangelism, apologetics, and discipleship in this environment? How will you proclaim the Christian hope of a “new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness” (II Peter 3:13) to those who are convinced it can be obtained by human means alone? What innovations will enable you to address the spiritual needs of people who are now living in this new world?
I encourage you to explore these questions as you plan for the future and invite donors to support your work.
Ron Frey is president of Frey Resource Group, a strategic and creative consulting firm that helps non-profit organizations inspire joyful generosity and achieve extraordinary success in fundraising. He has trained and consulted with hundreds of organizations on branding, donor communications, major gifts, foundation grants and capital campaigns.
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