Paranoids and Conspiracy Theorists Beware
Before going any further with this thesis, I realize from the outset that there are plenty of people who will see the ability to record virtually every square foot of the earth and to track individuals with GPS as a threat to freedom. There are Christians who will think that this is the “Mark of the Beast” and a sign that a worldwide dictatorship is imminent. Others will be reminded of George Orwell’s 1984 and other anti-utopian tales.
But there were churchmen who decried the invention of the printing press as demonic. Did you ever read Doctor Faustus? This was a popular tale of the Renaissance based on the true story of the man who financed Gutenberg’s first press run of Bibles to the people of Strasburg. The experts who saw the first Bible manuscripts were so amazed at what they saw, that they accused him of dealing with the devil. Or so one version of the legend goes.
I remember in 1994 talking to a pastor about the world-wide-web and what the church could do with it. We were very involved in social activism and world missions and I thought that a web presence was a great idea. I said that I would be willing to help the church set up a website. His reaction was, “Yes, but what are the risks?” Another man I talked to didn’t want a website for his organization because he thought others would be able to tap into his computer and see what he was doing. People most often fear what they don’t understand.
GPS, global mapping and digital video are technologies that are going to radically change our way of life much like electricity did at the turn of the century. I don’t think that the light bulb and the telephone are my salvation, but electricity is indispensable to my way of life.
Technology is not going to be our salvation. But what I see on the horizon is remarkable. I think that it is going to be increasingly difficult for violent people to hide the way they do now.
Just last night (10/23/2006) one of the most violent incidents the history of Orlando took place. Gang members took shotguns and carried out six armed robberies in one neighborhood. All the police have is a description of the car and that they were three men. Another man who was shot last night is in such bad condition he can’t speak to police. It would be ridiculous to think that if we had the satellite technology to find out immediately where these people are that we wouldn’t want to use it.
Would that stop the evil that lurks in men’s hearts? No, only the Holy Spirit can do that. But compassion dictates that we must use whatever technology that is available to save judicially innocent lives.
I am not only interested in this from a crime perspective although I think that that is the application that is going to have the greatest impact. This is going to literally change the way that people see the world and gain knowledge. These technologies are going to bring things to an unimaginable level.
Have you downloaded Google Earth yet? Check out this free application and play around with it. Then try to think about what people will be doing with it in ten years. If you think that what I am saying so far is crazy, please post a comment. One of the reasons I am posting this to my Blog first is to get feedback.