I know, I know, you're probably saying "what equality?" When did we ever live in a world of equality? We didn't but we did at least once treat equality in some things as a desirable ideal. That we embraced equality as a value is evident today in the angst many suffer at our rapidly growing inequality. According to a piece from BBC, inequality could soon get far worse and very quickly. In fact, your existence might be treated as redundant.
[In the 19th and 20th centuries] equality became a dominant value in human culture, almost all over the world. Why?
It was partly down to the rise of new ideologies such as humanism, liberalism and socialism.
But it was also about technological and economic change - which was connected to those new ideologies, of course.
Suddenly the elite needed large numbers of healthy, educated people to serve as soldiers in the army and as workers in the factories.
Governments didn't educate and vaccinate to be nice.
They needed the masses to be useful.
But now that's changing again.
[Robotics-driven automation] is one reason why we might - in the not-too-distant future - see the creation of the most unequal societies that have ever existed in human history.
And there are other reasons to fear such a future.
With rapid improvements in biotechnology and bioengineering, we may reach a point where, for the first time in history, economic inequality becomes biological inequality.
Until now, humans had control of the world outside them.
They could control the rivers, forests, animals and plants.
But they had very little control of the world inside them.
They had limited ability to manipulate and engineer their own bodies, brains and minds.
They couldn't cheat death.
That might not always be the case.
The rich - through purchasing ...biological enhancements - could become, literally, better than the rest; more intelligent, healthier and with far greater life-spans.
At that point, it will make sense to cede power to this "enhanced" class.
Think about it like this.
In the past, the nobility tried to convince the masses that they were superior to everyone else and so should hold power.
In the future I am describing, they really will be superior to the masses.
And because they will be better than us, it will make sense to cede power and decision-making to them.
The two processes together - human enhancement and the rise of AI - may result in the separation of humankind into a very small class of super-humans and a massive underclass of "useless" people.
It's very dangerous to be redundant.
Your future depends on the goodwill of some small elite.
Maybe there is goodwill.
But in a time of crisis - like climate catastrophe - it would be very easy to toss you overboard.
Dismiss this if you like but I think we can all agree that it poses serious questions that we need to ask, issues that we need to discuss. Unfortunately it comes at a point where governments seem to have no great interest in discussing serious issues with us. Maybe they already see this writing on the wall.