The Beast

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I'll let you in on a little secret. Back in the day, when I worked at what was then called the Foreign Technology Division, I researched and maintained the lexical rule-base that made the machine translation system work (Today called SYSTRAN). It was a primitive artificial intelligence sytem that worked OK for narrow subject matter, but failed miserably outside narrow parameters. "OK" probably isn't the right word because it could translate about 20 thousand pages in one or two seconds. It literally spit out stacks of books faster than you could pick them up.

But today, google translate (and the nifty voice transcription system that comes as part of my android phone) works in a very different manner. You see, it has access to an astronomically large database of human-made texts, translations and voices, and is able to use statistical methods to correlate semantics and derive translation and transcription rules... that database is all your emails, searches, phone calls, instant messages and so on. We are collectively participating in the creation of "The Beast"- a massive artificial intelligence that knows what you are saying (thus, thinking and feeling).

It knows your name, where you live, and if you carry a cell phone or use a debit card, it knows where you've been and where you are. If you travel by air, it knows where you are going before you arrive. It knows from your telephone, email, and online 'social' networking who your friends are, who and what you care about, who you talk to the most, and where they are and who and what they care about, and so on... It knows where you spend your money and how much you have to spend, and it knows your guilty pleasures... whether it be starbucks or porn. It knows your religious and political beliefs and affiliations. It actually knows more about you - than you do, because it does not forget.

It's no accident that I call it "The Beast" (of chapter 13 of the Book of Revelation). What is a beast? Well I think it's safe to say that it describes something that is not human, and has a certain level of intelligence, and generally, not friendly, or at least potentially dangerous to people. But Revelation is very specific about this particular Beast. It has knowledge and control over all buying and selling, that is, it is a system of economic power that has absolute control over every person and nation... And the number of his name is 666. Although that mysterious number has been associated with evil for about two thousand years, it is no longer hard to understand how it identifies the beast. It simply describes a computer code that is used to identify things, animals, and yes, people: see for yourself, it's nothing new: http://u.nu/6ehne

From the 2.4 million google search results on "Beast Revelation" (http://u.nu/8ghne) it is plain to see that a lot of people get the general idea - at least the Christians do. From what I surmise, a lot of Muslims do too. How sad, though, that the rest of the world seems so blind to this very obvious phenomenon that is unfolding right under everyone's noses.

The Beast is just a machine that has no concept of your value as a human being. But it is a machine that is like no other because it has tremendous power, although your interaction with it seems seductively innocuous. And that power is owned not by you, but by people who also do not value you as a human being.

Think about that... and think about what you feed the beast.

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