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The near dystopian future happening in our world today

Moving towards a dystopian future Technologies that will shape our future are already in play around us, and they will soon wreak havoc on our reality.

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Traditional politicians continue to avoid publicly addressing the tsunami of unemploymentapparently baffled as to how to react to a historic transition: The Tech Threat 25: As AI increasingly autonomises formerly human-managed objects like cars and factory assembly lines, it displaces not only millions of workers employed in repetitive jobs like driving and assembling products, but white-collar employees, too.

With the Internet of Things expanding into the physical realm, you'll find yourself encountering AI-enhanced objects more often, especially in service industries. Replacing humans with robotic transactions delivered in unthreatening lilts, AI will further contribute to our de-socialisation, and feed the self-absorption and narcissism fuelled by Internet-powered consumerism.

Could artificial intelligence lead to world peace? Soon, augmenting your surroundings will become as essential as a cellphone if you want to participate in employed living. Soldiers will view aerial perspectives of the complex they're about to assault, streamed from hovering drones, while supporting engineers thousands of miles away broadcast 3D immersive designs of the complex and its occupants direct to the soldiers' vision.

Later, the soldiers themselves will be replaced by agile robots, as the debate over the permissibility of lethal killing machines is won by those arguing for using them against conveniently dehumanised "terrorists". Soon, turning on the computer or fishing your phone out of your pocket will no longer be a precondition to being online.

  1. Soon, turning on the computer or fishing your phone out of your pocket will no longer be a precondition to being online. The robots that inhabit the future theme park in Westworld are also introduced as the playthings of the super-rich.
  2. Getty Images Since young people are more likely to be unemployed, the benefits of income growth also escape them.
  3. There is even a Tinder-like handheld device to summon lovers to your bedroom at will. The film follows their eye-opening journey into the world outside the machine-managed complex.

Potentially, the greatest game-changer is Blockchain BC. It leverages the power of an online distributed ledger system in creating an all-encompassing, entirely interconnected digital grid that can be used to assess participants on a staggering tally of issues.

Though open to authoritarian abuse, this tool would also enable individuals to delink themselves from the arbitrariness of the nation-state organising principle.

A dystopian vision of a world built just for the young

BC could be used to assess our environmental footprint more completely than is now possible and opens the door to new forms of democracy, the abolition of banks and other intermediaries, and a new global taxation system based not on our income but our impact on Planet Earth.

Switzerland put the idea to referendum last year, but its wealthy citizens rejected it for fear that introducing a guaranteed income would lead to the country being overrun by immigrants. UBI contains several dangers, including the risk of hardening our societies' current inequality into an irreversible orthodoxy, or being used as a pretext to scrap state-provided health services and other forms of welfare.

Finally, there is VR, the most widely-available of all these technologies. Hailed as a reality-suspending innovation exceeding even the invention of the moving image, it is poised to go mainstream this year.

Too believable

What's the future of driverless cars? Even as we start checking into fully-automated hotels, being transported by driverless cars, and even choosing robots for sexual and spiritual succour, the voices of those questioning how such scarce public debate can mark such momentous innovations appear puny and drowned-out by the digital tumult.

Does anyone ask what the social consequences of discarding significant sections of society for being less efficient than robots are?

  • Youth has not just revolted, it has completely dominated;
  • In many countries, young adults are far from dominant, especially in economic terms.

How will those who cannot adapt react to the realisation that, rather than failed individuals, they belong to powerful, potentially disruptive constituencies numbering in the hundreds of millions? What ethical frontiers will humanity trespass upon once the elites can afford to engineer selves or descendants immune to disease and fatigue?

How can the extraordinarily powerful technological tools currently in development be leveraged to reduce the inequality that has only increased in the Internet Era, while minimising our impact on the environment?

  • BC could be used to assess our environmental footprint more completely than is now possible and opens the door to new forms of democracy, the abolition of banks and other intermediaries, and a new global taxation system based not on our income but our impact on Planet Earth;
  • View image of Credit;
  • Hailed as a reality-suspending innovation exceeding even the invention of the moving image, it is poised to go mainstream this year;
  • All this may explain why the chasm between the outlooks of the young and old has grown wider, this year more than most;
  • UBI contains several dangers, including the risk of hardening our societies' current inequality into an irreversible orthodoxy, or being used as a pretext to scrap state-provided health services and other forms of welfare;
  • The near future science fiction sub-genre imagines a future only a short time away from the period in which it is produced.

Holding this debate is hardly in the interest of those making wild, tax-free savings by substituting machines for humans. So it's unsurprising that the kind of politicians supported by transnational business lobbies continue misleading their constituencies with feel-good narratives that appeal to two shrivelling realities: As long as critical masses of voters continue imbibing narratives of self-actualised, empowered individualism we will not be able to honestly debate what consequences technology is bringing upon us.

Iason Athanasiadis is a Mediterraneanist based between Istanbul and Tunis. The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.