IBM's Cognitive Computers, DARPA and the Image of the Beast

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Authored By  :
Bill Kochman

Published On :
October 8, 2011

Last Updated :
October 8, 2011

New IBM Computer Chips, SyNAPSE Project, Cognitive Computers, Dharmendra Modha: "We Want To Make Something Like The Brain", DARPA Involvement, Military Agency With Military Objectives, Cognitive Drones?, Intelligent Robotic Vehicles, Yesterday's Science Fiction Is Today's Reality, Terminator Franchise And Skynet, Worms Trojans And Viruses: A New Online Battlefield, Hackers And Hostile Governments, Speaking Cognitive Computers, Robots With Human Form, Revelation 13 And Image Of The Beast, Apple's Super Bowl 1984 Big Brother Macintosh Commercial, Apple I Cost $666.66 In 1976, Significance Of Apple's Logo, Steven P. Jobs Was A Buddhist And A New Ager, Temporal Things Of This World, My Personal Dedication To Macintosh Computers, Irresponsible Online Loose Cannons And YouTube False Prophets, Misguided Online Christian Alarmists Harm Our Credibility, Most Scientific Breakthroughs And Developments Take Time, All Prophecies Will Be Fulfilled In God's Ordained Time, We Can't Force God's Hand Through False Predictions, Current DARPA And IBM Research May Possibly Contribute To The Future Creation Of The Image Of The Beast, Beneficial Technology Falling Into Wrong Hands, Let's Leave It In The Realm Of Science Fiction

What man will do to enhance his own limited abilities!

Can you tell which of these are real people, and which are actually robots?

Below is a list of downloadable flash movies of some of the real, talking, moving, human-looking robots that are shown above, and more. The files range in size from under 1MB to almost 15MB. When prompted by your web browser, simply save the flash movies to disk in order to view them with your flash movie player, such as VLC. If you encounter a problem trying to download these with Google Chrome, simple right-click any link and select the "Save Link As" option. Hopefully, this will download the file to your computer.

The current state of human-looking, talking robots is amazing, but I suspect that robotics technology may possibly be even more advanced than what we see in these videos. After all, no government ever puts all of its cards on the table. We would probably be shocked to learn exactly what they can actually do now.

Actroid-DER2.flv Actroid-F.flv Alice.flv Einstein-01.flv Einstein-02.flv
Geminoid-F-01.flv Geminoid-F-02.flv Germinoid-DK-01.flv Germinoid-DK-02.flv Germinoid.flv
HRP-4C.flv Jules-01.flv Jules-02.flv Julio.flv Philip-K-Dick.flv

As you may have heard, this past August, the IBM Corporation announced that it has designed two new prototype computer chips unlike any others which have ever been created before. An integral part of the SyNAPSE -- Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics -- Project, these two computer chips do much more than simply rely upon data with which they have already been pre-programmed, which is what standard computer processors currently do.

According to researchers at the IBM Almaden Research Center near San Jose, California, USA, these new computer chips will be implemented in a new generation of computers -- referred to as "cognitive computers" -- which will be able to mimic the human brain, and electronically "reason" by analyzing the environment around them. The result of this electronic "decision-making" is that they will be able to formulate their own theories, and then determine what is the best course of action to take, based upon the data they have collected and analyzed. In other words, they will be a true thinking machine, unlike current computers which are stupid machines which can only do what they are programmed to do.

One of the goals of IBM researchers is to create "cognitive computers" which will be capable of analyzing sights, sounds, smells and other environmental stimuli around them, so that said "thinking machines" can be utilized in a wide range of useful applications, such as at traffic lights, in grocery stores, at power and water distribution centers, at utility agencies, in everyday electronic devices that we use, etc. As IBM project leader Dharmendra Modha explained, "We want to make something like the brain", and it appears that they are slowly achieving their goal. According to one online press release, one of the prototype chips contains what amounts to 262,144 programmable synapses, while the other chip holds 65,536 synapses. However, even this achievement is just a small step towards their ultimate objective, which is to create a one-square-centimeter chip which will contain the equivalent of one million neurons and ten billion synapses.

While the general public has been given limited information regarding the wonderful, useful ways in which this futuristic technology will eventually be used to benefit society as a whole, there is one worrisome footnote to all of this which, quite frankly, really bothers me. For Phase 2 of the SyNAPSE Project, the IBM Research Center has been awarded twenty-one million dollars by DARPA. For those of you who may not be aware of it, DARPA -- or Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency -- is an agency of the United States Government under the umbrella of the Department of Defense, headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. This agency is primarily responsible for the development of new technologies which are designated to eventually be used by the US military in warfare. In fact, their introduction states as follows:

----- Begin Quote -----

"DARPA's original mission, established in 1958, was to prevent technological surprise like the launch of Sputnik, which signaled that the Soviets had beaten the U.S. into space. The mission statement has evolved over time. Today, DARPA's mission is still to prevent technological surprise to the US, but also to create technological surprise for its enemies."

----- End Quote -----

Can it be said any clearer than that? While the world has indeed benefited from some of the technologies which were designed by DARPA -- including the Internet itself, which is based on the original ARPANET -- we should not lose sight of the fact that DARPA is still first and above all, a military agency, and its projects are primarily designed to assist the US military in enforcing American hegemony around the world. With this point in mind, it should be easier for you to understand why I am concerned about DARPA's involvement with IBM's SyNAPSE Project and "cognitive computers".

In other words, once the technology is perfected, it would be naive for any of us to not assume that the US Department of Defense has military applications in mind. For example, remotely-operated drones which are capable of spying on and killing people -- sometimes civilians -- in foreign lands by firing laser-guided missiles at them is alarming enough as it is, but "cognitive drones" which can actually "think" on their own, analyze data on their own, formulate decisions on their own, and if their electronic brain deems it necessary and appropriate, take offensive action on their own, without any direct human intervention, is a very dangerous step into the unknown, for all of us.

Not only that, but as I explain in my 2008 article entitled "Robot Wars and Skynet: Is Sci-Fi Becoming Our Reality?", if a certain government engaged in such tactics, who would know, and who would hold them accountable? Do you honestly believe that your government would really inform you that they are using machines to indiscriminately kill people? Do they tell you now, or is it only when a foreign government complains that we the public hear about it?

Now, obviously, I don't have any concrete proof that this is what the US Military actually has in mind, but it certainly seems like the next logical step insofar as drone technology is concerned, doesn't it? In fact, at some point in the not too distant future, what is to prevent the military from also developing and deploying humanoid, robotic killer machines without the public's knowledge? Clearly then, the notion of arming machines with the ability to think, analyze and take action is really sliding down a very slippery slope.

Granted, this kind of alarming scenario is no doubt still a number of years into the future. After all, IBM Research and other technological giants are just beginning to explore the potential of "cognitive computers". However, just the fact that DARPA and the Department of Defense may be considering such possibilities should unsettle everyone. Furthermore, you should know that the SyNAPSE Project is not the first time that DARPA has financed, sponsored or been involved in technological research regarding artificial intelligence. As I likewise mention in "Robot Wars and Skynet: Is Sci-Fi Becoming Our Reality?", DARPA has been supporting the development of intelligent robotic vehicles for at least the past six years.

At this point, scoffers who are reading this commentary will no doubt roll their eyes, accuse me of taking leave of my senses, and probably even lump me together with thousands of other conspiracy theorists who populate the wilderness of the Internet. "Skynet?" they will question in disbelief. "You've got to be joking! You really need to turn off the TV, get out more, and get some fresh air!" Well, before you adopt such a dismissive attitude, let me tell you something.

While human pride and vanity are almost always ahead of man's actual real-world discoveries, accomplishments and scientific breakthroughs, nevertheless, it can be said that what often begins as a thought arising in the mind of a science fiction author, with time, may very well become reality. In other words, yesterday's science fiction is today's reality. If you doubt that this is so, then simply take the time to listen to some of the old radio shows, watch some of the old black and white science fiction television shows and movies, or read some of the old science fiction novels. You may be surprised by what you discover. Some of our great grandparents no doubt rolled their eyes at the mention of the possibility of humans someday being able to go to the Moon, or beyond.

In a strange way, I can't help but wonder if those secular forms of entertainment are an odd type of prophecy. Or is it simply that Satan -- who the Bible tells us is the false god of this current world -- knows exactly where world events are headed, and he just wants to make sure that things stay on track?

The fact of the matter, is that the futuristic scenario that I described for you a moment ago is exactly something right out of the "Terminator" franchise. It's a frightening picture of a possible not-too-distant world where by one means or another, our own technology acquires the intelligence to turn against us, or is in fact purposely turned against us by our enemies. While most of man's wars today are fought on actual battlefields in foreign lands, as many of you will already know, for a number of years now, war has been moving to a new theatre; that is, to the online arena. As technology experts will acknowledge, with each passing year, worms, trojans and viruses are becoming more complex, more intelligent, and more difficult to discover. Furthermore, unbeknownst to a lot of computer users, they are also taking over more machines as well. Obviously, that makes them even more dangerous, due to the collective harm which they can inflict.

Taking the previous points into account, consider again the artificial intelligence research that is currently being conducted by DARPA, IBM Research, and similar technology giants. Assuming that they will achieve their objectives at some point in the future, that "cognitive computers" will in fact become a reality, and that they will be implemented in military applications, is it not also logical to assume that certain hostile governments and individuals will attempt to infiltrate, jeopardize and compromise such technologies? If they can invade Internet giants like Amazon, PayPal, Facebook and other popular Internet websites, and steal millions of credit card numbers and other sensitive, personal data today, what will such unscrupulous individuals be capable of doing a few years from now, perhaps for ideological, political or even religious reasons?

Let me also remind you that while government institutions will rarely admit it -- at least not until after the fact -- some of these hackers do possess the knowledge and skill to break into government and military websites as well. So what if they were to somehow gain access to certain "cognitive computers" which control vital facilities, such as electrical grids, water distribution centers, communications networks, military installations, nuclear power plants, etc.? What if they discovered a way to inject their own code into some of America's drones? Yes, that could possibly result in a very serious problem not that much different from the Terminator franchise's Skynet, couldn't it? It doesn't sound so funny, ridiculous or unbelievable anymore, does it?

There exists one other far-reaching -- and potentially very sinister and very dangerous -- ramification to the current endeavors being conducted by DARPA and IBM Research. What we have seen thus far is that these institutions want to mimic the human brain -- by using electronic components -- in order to create "cognitive computers"; that is, thinking machines. As I noted earlier, according to the online information that I have read, once created, these machines will be able to see, hear and smell, and then analyze the data which they have collected. After theorizing what the data means, they will be capable of formulating decisions, and then either initiating the appropriate response and actions themselves, such as in industrial applications, for example, or else recommending certain actions to their human counterparts.

But there is something else which these intelligent, thinking machines will be able to do. In fact, many of our computers can already do it to quite an efficient degree. And what is that? They can speak to us using synthesized voices, such as Cepstral Voices and AT&T Natural Voices. Equally of interest is the fact that, as the images and flash movies near the top of this article demonstrate, one current trend in the field of robotics is to create cybernetic units in human form; and a number of them do indeed look very close to human. Given another five or ten years, this technology might advance to such a degree, that it will become difficult to distinguish between a real human and a robot. I am reminded of the Bruce Willis movie "Surrogates". While I don't normally make it a practice to promote Hollywood movies in my articles, this is one movie which I do encourage you to see. It will leave you thinking.

What some people will find shocking -- at least those people who may not be very familiar with the Bible -- is that what I just described for you appears to have been prophesied two thousand years ago in the Book of Revelation. There are two eye-opening verses in the thirteenth chapter of the Book of Revelation which briefly describe a great image -- from the Greek word "eikon" -- which possesses all of the attributes and qualities that we just discussed. In other words, this image will have a human form, it will be able to speak, it will be able to think, it will be able to analyze data and make decisions, and it will in fact be able to cause people to be executed if they fail to follow the evil government's program. Consider the following alarming verses:

"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. 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."
Revelation 13:14-15, KJV

For a number of years now, I have speculated that this image may possibly be a giant robot of some kind, or perhaps a huge wall-mounted computer monitor, which the Satan-inspired Beast will use to dictate his commands to the world. I am reminded of Apple Inc.'s famously impressive and quite effective 1984 Super Bowl commercial for its very first Macintosh computer. In the ad, we observe an Orwellian Big Brother-like figure who is preaching his utopian philosophies on a gigantic wall monitor which is situated at the front of a bleak hall. The hall or auditorium is filled with bald-headed, zombie-eyed worker drones sitting on benches, who seem to be mesmerized by their crazed leader.

Suddenly, we see an athletic young woman dressed in a track uniform racing towards the hall with a mallet in her hands. She is being pursued by the Thought Police. Upon reaching the auditorium, in an act of defiance and rebellion, and similar to an ancient discus thrower, she swings her mallet around and then throws it forcefully at the monitor; thus smashing it to bits, and in the process frees the dazed workers from the spell of the Big Brother figure. To this day, I am still impressed by Apple's 1984 Big Brother commercial, because it was just so innovative -- an obvious Apple hallmark -- and so well-executed. It was also very expensive.

On the subject of Apple Inc., another interesting -- albeit disturbing -- tidbit I discovered while reading some online news articles regarding the death of Apple Inc.'s legendary co-founder and CEO, Steve Jobs, is the following. According to CNN and a number of other sources, when Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak offered their first commercial product -- the Apple I -- in 1976, it was priced at exactly $666.66. Yes, folks, $666.66. Whether that was simply meant to be taken as some kind of an insider's joke, I honestly don't know, but it does trouble me. Was the controversial price a not so subtle snub at, or mockery of, our Christian faith? Before you are too quick to dismiss this possibility, please consider the following.

When we couple that unusual -- and obviously intentional -- price with the fact that Apple's longtime logo has been an apple with a bite taken out of it -- possibly a nod to the tragic events which occurred in the Garden of Eden, although Steve Wozniak claims that Jobs was inspired to choose the name Apple Computer after paying a visit to an apple orchard -- and the fact that Steve Jobs was a Buddhist who embraced certain New Age beliefs, and not a Christian, it certainly makes me wonder about the man, and his true role in God's overall plans for the world.

As a Christian, I must confess that it is sad to think that while in both life and death Steven P. Jobs has been lauded by the world as a great visionary, innovative inventor and genius, nevertheless, he lacked the vision and the spiritual insight to recognize his own personal need for Salvation through Jesus Christ, and chose Buddhism and New Age thought as his personal belief system instead. While Steve Jobs had everything that this world has to offer us -- wealth, fame, prestige, devoted followers, etc. -- nevertheless, unless he accepted Christ at the very last moment, he left this current world a spiritually empty man with no guarantee of Salvation. As we are told in the Bible concerning the temporal things which this current world has to offer us:

"For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"
Mark 8:36, KJV

"But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?"
Luke 12:20, KJV

"For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out."
1 Timothy 6:7, KJV

"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever."
1 John 2:15-17, KJV

No doubt, some Macintosh users will take offense at my words. However, I only speak the truth of the Scriptures concerning Jobs' need for a Savior, which is a need that we all share, whether we personally recognize it or not.

To my critics, allow me to inform you that like millions of other people in the world, my life has also been directly affected by Steve Jobs and Apple Inc. For what it is worth, I have been a dedicated Macintosh user since 1990, at which time I was first presented with the opportunity to work on a Macintosh SE. Since that time, I have personally owned and used a Macintosh LC III, a Macintosh G3 mini-tower, three different models of Macintosh G4 mini-towers, and finally, a 27" 2.8 GHz i7 Quad Core iMac. Over the past two decades, I have spent many thousands of dollars on Macintosh hardware and software, and other Macintosh peripherals.

My point is, please don't think that I am bashing Steve Jobs from the position of a non-Macintosh user, because I am not. Again, it is simply a shame that so great a man -- by worldly standards -- apparently never recognized his personal need for, or accepted, the atoning Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, when he no doubt had many opportunities to do so throughout his life. God is faithful.

But let us return now to our earlier discussion concerning Revelation chapter thirteen and the Image of the Beast. In light of everything that I have now shared with you, please ask yourself a question: How are the attributes of the Image of the Beast any different from what DARPA and IBM Research are hoping to eventually create? Their "cognitive computers" may initially be intended for industrial use, as well as for military use, and may not possess a human form, but given the current trend to humanize robotic machines, how long will it be before the technology does exist to create some kind of evil, cognitive, cybernetic entity such as the prophesied Image of the Beast?

Please understand that I am not suggesting that researchers at IBM are evil, or that they are in league with the Devil, or that they have some satanic plan to take over the world, or that their goal is to create the Image of the Beast. I will leave it to other irresponsible online loose cannons to make those kinds of unfounded accusations if they wish, and some of them probably will. In fact, as I mention in another article that I am currently trying to complete, some of them have already been making the claim that Christ's Return is imminent -- within a matter of days or weeks -- due to all of the Comet Elenin nonsense which has propagated across the Internet in recent months thanks to YouTube, Facebook and other social networks. And then there are Harold Camping's misguided, questionable October predictions.

To make matters worse, since IBM's research with "cognitive computers" first became public news, at least one preacher has used YouTube to spread the message that the Image of the Beast is just around the corner. He claims that "we are on the cusp". Such alarmist messages are not only unwarranted, irresponsible, and confusing, but they do more harm than good to our faith as well. Why is this? Because when these false predictions fail to materialize, they make Christians look like naive, gullible fools and outright idiots. Furthermore, such hyped up, misguided messages only serve to drive people away from our faith, and not to it.

The fact of the matter is, folks, these things don't happen overnight. As I mentioned a few moments ago, when scientists and researchers say that they are going to invent a certain thing, create a certain thing or develop a certain thing, it does not mean that it will happen tomorrow, next week, next month or even next year. It may actually take several years, or even decades, before they achieve their objectives. That is one of the reasons why when I hear all of this talk about the many wonderful cures that are going to eventually result from embryonic stem cell research -- which I strongly oppose due to moral reasons -- I don't get all excited. Such cures are years, if not decades away; that is, assuming that they ever do come to fruition.

You need to recognize that scientists and researchers are very forward-thinking people. They will often tell us what they hope to achieve, and not necessarily what they have actually achieved to date. One reason why they do this, is because it fuels government grants, which are so vital to such research projects. They need to inspire people with their vision; particularly the people who control the flow of money.

Like other Bible-believing Christians, I believe that all of God's Word will be fulfilled to the letter. However, it will be in God's time, and not in our time. In other words, we can't force God's Hand, or try to make things happen before He has ordained them to happen, regardless of how many false prophets are out there giving their misguided predictions.

So concerning DARPA, IBM Research, the SyNAPSE Project and the work that they are currently doing to develop "cognitive computers", what I am saying is this: Their current work may at some point in the future, possibly form the basis for the technology which eventually leads to the actual creation of the Image of the Beast. Given the current pace of technology, my impression is that these prophetic events are still quite a few years in our future. Unlike the "Jesus is coming at any moment!" folks, I don't see these things occurring this year, next year, or even in five or ten years. If that disappoints those of you who have been misled by some of those misguided YouTube and Facebook preachers, well, I'm sorry, but I must stand by my personal convictions.

The simple truth of the matter is that creating a robot that looks like a human, moves like a human and talks like a human is one thing, but creating a complex, cybernetic human brain which can actually think on its own, formulate theories and make decisions on its own, and then carry out those actions is quite another. It is this challenge which will hold back the arrival of the Image of the Beast for some time to come. So please don't believe those misguided preachers who claim that we are now "on the cusp" of all of these things. In my view, it just isn't so.

My concern, which I also express in articles such as "Science And Technology: The Forbidden Knowledge" and "Robot Wars and Skynet: Is Sci-Fi Becoming Our Reality?", is that the current technology which is being developed to benefit mankind, may some day fall into the wrong hands, and be used for very evil and sinister purposes. While IBM Research and DARPA will no doubt continue to maintain a high level of security at their facilities as the SyNAPSE Project progresses, all it takes is one misstep -- perhaps from a greedy person within, or from a disgruntled employee, or from someone who is simply careless, or perhaps from a skilled hacker who figures out a way to overcome their security barriers -- for things to suddenly go seriously wrong.

In conclusion, regardless of your personal religious beliefs, or lack thereof, I hope that you can see that DARPA and IBM Research's goal of designing "cognitive computers" which may some day be capable of thinking, analyzing data, formulating theories and decisions, and then possibly effectuating those decisions on their own, without any human intervention, is simply a bad idea. It is in fact a very dangerous idea. In my view, there is too much potential for something going wrong. Even if IBM researchers are well-meaning, ethical individuals whose only objective is to improve the human condition, as I said, there are a lot of governments and individuals who will no doubt have other less honorable objectives in mind. As we have already seen, the globalists and the Beast and the False Prophet most certainly will.

Let's leave talking computers which are capable of analyzing data, effectuating decisions, and even intervening in human affairs when the need arises, to the realm of science fiction such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Trek, Star Wars and the like. They are fun to watch on television or at the movies, but do we really want and need them in our real lives? No, I am not a Luddite, as this online ministry demonstrates; but a bit of common sense is in order here. Don't you agree?

With these thoughts, I will bring this article to a close. It is my hope that you have found it informative, enlightening, and I pray that it has been a blessing in your life as well. If you have an account with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or with any other social network, I would really appreciate if you'd take the time to click or tap on the corresponding link that is found on this page. Thanks so much, and may God bless you abundantly!

For additional information and further study, you may want to refer to the list of reading resources below which were either mentioned in this article, or which contain topics which are related to this article. All of these articles are likewise located on the Bill's Bible Basics web server. To read these articles, simply click or tap on any link you see below.

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