This is Faith in Play #34: Guidance and The Machine, for September 2020.
Some people I know are terrified of the vision of the world in Person of Interest, the television series currently available on Netflix. In it, a man going by the name of Harold Finch has created a hardware/software combination that monitors and analyzes all the data everywhere—cameras, cell phones, online computers, everything. Using this data, it predicts terrorist attacks and gives limited information to a secret government agency so that these can be thwarted before they occur. Yet Harold took the system one step further: he designed it to inform him of the identities of anyone about to be involved, as victim or perpetrator, in a planned violent crime not related to terrorism. He wanted to save the lives of people involved in such crimes, and so the machine gives him social security numbers of such people.
Harold Finch is brilliant at computers, but slightly handicapped, walking with a limp, so he can’t do this himself. He recruits John Reese to do the legwork, and eventually Sameen Shaw joins them; two police detectives, Lionel Fusco and Joss Carter, also help them when called, knowing that their information is always good but not how they get it. Eventually someone who calls herself Root (Samantha Groves to Harold, but she doesn’t like that name) also joins them, apparently recruited by the machine itself.
It doesn’t frighten me. I see in it a wonderful metaphor of divine guidance, and the fact that God directs each of us in accordance with our own place in His plan. Read more