Are We Building A Second Tower Of Babel?

Matt Mylin   -  

I recently finished Kevin Kelly’s book, The Inevitable,” which highlights 12 ways technology will shape our world over the next 30 years.

It’s an interesting read and important to understand since technology is integrated into just about every area of our lives.

He highlights the internet’s influence as a knowledge and information hub, how it has expanded exponentially, and how it reflects humanity. He writes,

“Think of the 100 billion times per day humans click on a web page as a way of teaching the holos (holos is his word for describing the super brain called the internet) what we think is important.”

The Internet is a mirror reflection of humanity.

Clicks and content reflect what humans think is important (here’s how to change your thinking with the mind of Christ).

When the internet was first introduced to our world, it decentralized knowledge by making it accessible for humans to add to it and learn from it. As more and more knowledge, information, and entertainment are added to it, the internet has become a centralized superbrain integrated into the majority of our lives.

I’m unsure what his beliefs about Jesus are, but Mr. Kelly emphasizes that the internet can be used for good or evil.

In the last chapter of the book, he makes this statement about what he sees in the future:

“AI and robots and filtering and tracking (and all the ways the internet and technology integrate our lives) converge — humans plus machines — and together we move to a complex interdependence.” 

If we’re not careful, technology and humans working together can subtly and suddenly remove the need for God. I see this reality in our world, and it caused me to ask the question:

Are we building a second tower of Babel?

This short but fascinating story appears in Genesis chapter 11 with extremely limited details. My assumption is that all we see in the story is all we need to know and understand the message. Here are the bullet points:

– At one time, all the people of the world spoke the same language and converged in one place: the land of Babylonia.

– The advanced technology of the day was using bricks and mortar to build.

– Humans and technology worked together to build something great…for themselves.

“Come, let’s build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches to heaven so that we make our names famous and keep us from being scattered across the earth” (Genesis 11:4).

– The Lord intervened by confusing their language and scattering them across the earth.

– The End.

What was the problem?

Cities and Towers were not the problem.

Cities were used to centralize people. Towers were used for communication to know what message was coming in and share what was going out. Both could have been used for good.

Their misplaced ambition was the problem.

Building a city with a great tower to reach heaven through their own efforts and make their name famous by their own achievement was eliminating their need for God. They constructed something intentionally that kept the people centralized, which caused them to disregard God’s command to “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.”

Humans integrating with AI, technology, and the internet is not bad. These tools can all be used to accomplish so much good. It was the people’s ambition to build something great for themselves that removed and replaced God. In the end, the Lord displaced them (check out four ways to be more intentional with the gift of time).

The Tower of Babel is a sobering story that serves as a warning and instruction to us today.

What is our ambition for building something great?

Is it to make our name famous or to bring glory to God?

God is our Creator. He blessed human beings with a commandment to be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth, and tend it. This means you are called to create and use the tools of technology to build something great.

So, build something great for the glory of God and the benefit of others!