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Technology: Preparing for The Mark
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The ever-present, ever-improving personal computer has become the primary tool of creativity. Practically everything that was once done by pencil and paper, drafting tools, and artistry is now being done faster, easier, and better with the help of the computer. A person of average income may now own a computer which is more powerful than the million dollar main-frames of just a few years ago. Beautiful color, digital stereophonic sound, CD ROM libraries of knowledge, modem connectivity to the entire world via information services and the Internet, and an exploding source of helpful, inexpensive software all make this device a necessity for many people today. Smaller, more powerful laptop and notebook computers make it possible for people to take this essential productivity tool with them wherever they go.
Interactive Television is on its way. Many experimental programs are in place even now. This technology will allow people to view what they want, when they want to see it, and do the same with educational programs, shopping, simulated travel, and whatever else people will want in the future.
Information service companies, such as Compuserve and America On Line provide an amazing assortment of "on line" information, such as news and historical data bases, games and other entertainment, down-loadable software, literature, and art, electronic mail, special interest data bases and "chat" rooms where one may type messages to one another in real time. Shopping on-line is becoming very popular as well.
Another aspect of what is often called cyberspace is the Internet. It has been around for several decades. It is a high speed data transmission system, now often called the information "super highway". It was used by major corporations and universities to connect their main-frame computers together. It is just now becoming very popular and extremely useful. Education, businesses, government, and even churches are rapidly turning to this medium of information exchange. Easy navigation of this world-wide network is being made possible by such innovations as the "World-Wide Web." Color, sound, animation, and even video have been added to the capabilities of the "net." Connection to the Internet is one of the options on many information services. Individuals may also choose to subscribe to local Internet services which do not provide their own information, but simply connect the user's computer (via the phone lines) to the Internet. It should be noted that this technology is also potentially very dangerous because of the lack of control and monitoring of pornography ("Cyberporn"), and dangerous communications especially between children and unprincipled adults. Many of the Internet providers are now including automatic blocking of known questionable destinations, but it is virtually impossible to know all of the dangerous paths that can be taken.
There is another, even more important computer network. This is the world of financial transactions, including the ATM (Automatic Teller Machines), Credit and Debit cards, and even smart cards which are able to "store electronic money" to be used by appropriate devices such as vending machines, public telephones, and transportation services. This network now includes most retail stores, automobile service stations, and even fast food outlets in many areas. These "sellers" employ scanning devices and pay point card readers. All of this is moving us closer to a "cashless society" which may be easily controlled by a world dictator. The coming Antichrist will be such a dictator. The technology is now in place for him to accomplish his evil plan of economic control. See Economic Dictatorship. (Read about the Allcard, a smart card used by the University of Rochester in Peter and Paul Lalonde's, Racing Toward The Mark of the Beast, pp. 36-37.)
All of this is connected by telephone and cable systems which have greatly upgraded the capabilities of their systems with Fiber Optic cables replacing ordinary wires and the extensive use of communications satellites which effectively link the entire Earth together. One small Fiber Optic cable can replace 10,000 ordinary telephone lines! ("Telecommunications", New Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia). Many phone services now employ the ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) system. This concept not only perfects the quality of the voice on the phone, but allows the connection of several devices to the outside world simultaneously, including television, FAX, copier, computers. It also adds the capability of "smart phones" which will transmit digital data about the users along with the voice or video connection. With such a system, the business you are calling could conceivably answer the phone using your name, and already having your account information on the screen in front of them. The potential for transmission of unwanted information is an obvious danger to this emerging technology.