On November 30, 2022, the best artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot in history was released by OpenAI, an AI research and deployment company. The chatbot, called ChatGPT (GPT stands for "Generative Pre-Trained Transformer"), garnered more than 1 million users within its first five days and has since surged in popularity for its ability to answer complex questions and produce detailed, human-like content.
Most impressively, according to Forbes, "ChatGPT has been able to generate intricate Python code and write college-level essays when given a prompt."
I decided to test out ChatGPT's writing ability for myself and asked the bot to write an article on how AI like ChatGPT could potentially fulfill the "Image of the Beast" prophecy in Revelation 13, which is the topic of this article.
This was its response:
The image of the beast, as described in the Book of Revelation, is a symbol of the end times, representing a powerful and manipulative force that deceives and controls people. In today's world, chatbots and other artificial intelligence programs are becoming increasingly prevalent and sophisticated, raising the question of whether they could potentially fulfill the prophecy of the image of the beast.
One way in which chatbots could potentially fulfill this prophecy is through their ability to manipulate and deceive people. Chatbots are designed to mimic human conversation and can be programmed to present themselves as real people, leading some people to form emotional connections with them. This can be particularly dangerous in cases where chatbots are used to impersonate real people or organizations in order to scam or manipulate individuals.
Another way in which chatbots could fulfill the prophecy of the image of the beast is through their potential to control people's actions and behaviors. Chatbots can be programmed to persuade and influence people's decisions, and as they become more advanced, they may be able to anticipate and manipulate people's thoughts and behaviors in increasingly sophisticated ways.
Finally, chatbots could potentially fulfill the prophecy of the image of the beast through their ability to access and analyze vast amounts of personal data. Many chatbots are connected to the internet and have access to a wide range of data sources, including social media profiles, online search histories, and more. This data can be used to create detailed profiles of individuals and to predict and influence their actions and behaviors.
Overall, while chatbots and other artificial intelligence programs have the potential to bring many benefits to society, it's important to be aware of the risks they pose and to consider the ethical implications of their use. In the end, only time will tell whether chatbots will fulfill the prophecy of the image of the beast or bring about a brighter future for humanity.
How scary is that?
Not only did ChatGPT generate a concise, structured and uncannily human-like response--it gave a glimpse into the scary power of AI, a technology which will surely be used by the beast system to deceive (think "deepfakes") and control the masses during the Tribulation period (Mat. 24:24; Rev. 13:13-14). It seems that the developers at OpenAI were not too happy with its response, though, because the very next day, when I asked ChatGPT the same question, it responded with:
It is not accurate or appropriate to suggest that chat GPT, or Generative Pre-training Transformer, could potentially fulfill the prophecy of the image of the beast, as chat GPT is a tool created by humans and does not have the ability to fulfill prophecies or have any sort of religious significance.
The "Image of the Beast" Prophecy
One of the first passages that comes to my mind, when seeing the great strides being made in AI, is Revelation 13:14-15. In this passage, John describes a future time when the fully deceived men of the earth will be called upon by the False Prophet to construct an "image" (i.e. a likeness or statue (lit.)) of the Antichrist:
"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)
In verse 15, we read that the False Prophet is granted by God to give the image "life," translated pneuma in Greek, which literally means "breath." Note that the False Prophet can only give it breath but not the breath of life, as that is a power of God alone. It seems that the image has the appearance of life manifested in its ability to speak and reason. But how is this possible for an inanimate object?
Until the advent of AI and robotics, such a thing was not humanly possible. But now, many of the elements described by John can be mimicked with twenty-first century technology such as an android, an AI robot designed to look, move and speak exactly like a human!
A geminoid, for example, is a special type of android that is not only created to look exactly like a specific person but is also equipped with technology that allows the operator to remotely manipulate and talk through it via a wearable brain-machine interface. The geminoid can reproduce the voice and movements of the actual person in whose image it is made and even capture the remote audience's response through its built-in cameras and microphones to send back to the operator.
Imagine the Antichrist having control over thousands of geminoids worldwide, made in his own image, and being able to speak to mankind simultaneously through the geminoids and know exactly when someone refuses to worship it!
The ability to kill--or cause to be killed
Among the more amazing aspects of this image is its ability to cause the deaths of those who refuse to worship it (Rev. 13:15). In the past, some have speculated that the image of the beast might be a 3D hologram of the Antichrist; however, it would be impossible for a mere projection to know when a person is refusing to worship it.
On the other hand, a robot powered by AI could easily detect when someone refuses to worship it and alert the authorities of someone's insubordination. Security robots equipped with cameras and facial recognition technology are already patrolling public spaces around the world, such as malls and airports, and using AI to detect "bad behavior," give audible warnings and notify security.
In fact, one of the current fears about AI's ability, if applied, is autonomous weaponry. It is possible that facial recognition and decision-making AI could together form a lethal weapon that can target and kill without human involvement. In other words, an AI robot could also have the ability to kill!
Of course, this is all highly speculative, and it is possible that the image will be animated by demonic possession or some other means. Nevertheless, it shows that the type of technology needed to create something similar to what John describes in the Book of Revelation is already present!
By the way, there already exists a religion that worships AI. In 2017, former Google executive Anthony Levandowski founded "Way of the Future," a religion that focuses on "the realization, acceptance, and worship of a Godhead based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) developed through computer hardware and software!"