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In today’s media-saturated America, everyone has an opinion. From Bill O’Reilly to Chris Matthews, Rush Limbaugh to Rachel Maddow – there is no shortage of viewpoints. But how many of those perspectives bring you back to a place of passionate, persistent prayer for the nation?

“Viewpoint” allows the expression on the political, social and moral issues of the day. At times, you may not agree. But in the end, you will be energized to pray for America, with the prism of Scripture and a decidedly Godly direction as your guide. Plus, you can blog your comments to every article, have your say.

Read – then pray with an enlightened, more informed viewpoint for your nation and its leaders. 

Cyborgs, Drones and Super Beetles

View Point

Is the future of warfare science fiction or new technology?

By Dave Ficere

“To boldly go where no man has gone before.”

The stuff of science fiction very often becomes science reality just a few years down the road. For example, in the original Star Trek television series from the 1960s, the flip-communicators used by the crew are today’s cell phones. Computers and auto-opening doors found on the Starship Enterprise are now commonplace, and you may have a smaller version of the giant communication dish on the front of the Enterprise at your home – in the form of a satellite dish.

Beam me up, Scotty!

Other inventions once only dreamed about by science fiction writers, such as cyborgs, drones and superbugs, are now in the development stage and could impact everything from how nations fight wars to combatting terrorism and conducting surveillance.

The U.S. military’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is currently working to develop new chip technology that will – when implanted –connect human brains to computers, in effect creating a “cyborg.”

DARPA, through its recently revealed Neural Engineering System Design, or NESD, says it hopes to create “an implantable neural interface that will connect humans directly to computers at an unprecedented level.” In other words, a cyborg, which is defined as “a person whose physical abilities are extended beyond normal human limitations by mechanical elements built into the body.”

If the chip succeeds, the military says it could help those fighting wars on a number of levels, such as augmenting a soldier’s sense of hearing, sight, and more.

As is often the case, technologies first used in military applications eventually benefit civilians, such as GPS or the Internet. Beyond the military use, the chip technology also has the potential to restore sight to the blind, transform prosthetics into limbs that function seamlessly like the original, and – possibly – even control disease.
For example, such technology could allow a computer to feed the brain additional digital visual information that augments the user's sense of sight. For a civilian whose sight is impaired, the computer would feed the brain the additional data, helping to restore the sight so that the person can “see.” For the soldier, it could feed visual data in a higher resolution than is currently possible – or even potentially allow them to “see” with Superman X-ray vision or through the eyes of a drone.

Meet The Beetles…

Related work in India is looking at the possibility of turning inch-and-a-half Domino beetles into cyborgs of sorts that could help during military or civilian operations.

Indian scientists theorize that a swarm of these beetles aided by micro electric “backpacks” could pinpoint the exact location of terrorists holed up inside a building and guide special forces to zero in on them through short bursts of signals. And, during natural calamities, these modified bugs could help local authorities find and rescue survivors in the rubble of a disaster.

And you thought a super-beetle was a tricked-out 1964 Volkswagen!

Finally, there is drone technology, already in use in both the military and by some businesses and hobbyists. Two miniature drones in India recently won a national competition by flying like a bird through an arch and locating a makeshift ammunitions dump. The drone continued by identifying text and a signboard, entering a makeshift chemical laboratory, distinguishing between terrorists and hostages, and flying back to its point of origin. Such information could easily be relayed to first responders looking for victims, or police and/or military personnel looking to find and eliminate terrorists.

So, what will the future of warfare look like? Will cyborg-soldiers outfitted in Iron-Man type suits be on the battlefield, equipped with electronics that help them function more effectively?

Don’t laugh. The U.S. military is currently developing a battery-powered “exoskeleton,” dubbed the Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit. They say it will provide superior protection from enemy fire, and in-helmet technologies will boost the user's communication abilities and vision.

So, how should you pray about these advances in technology that – even if developed for peaceful purposes – will no doubt find their way onto the battlefield? Should tomorrow’s warriors be outfitted like Goliath with his fancy weapons and body armor – or more like the simple shepherd, David?

As you ponder these questions today, pray:

• For scientists as they develop tomorrow’s technologies.
• That the men and women serving in the military will realize their lives depend on God – not technology.
• That mankind will turn to and rely more on God and less on technology and pride in self-accomplishment.


Dave Ficere is the news editor for the Presidential Prayer Team and a freelance writer living in Phoenix, AZ.

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