This is a difficult question to ask since so potentially politically charged discussions and I'm making some large sweeping statements in trends. I am not saying anything specifically about whether I agree or disagree with any of the below, only the trends I believe I see. I ask that we avoid discussing the right or wrong of any of the below, or to what extent any applies currently, and focus only on the result of larger trends.

Prejudice against groups or factions have been around for all of human history. Some minority groups have gotten a particularly negative view and accusation of causing social ills throughout history, Christians, Jews, Irish, Hispanics, Homosexuals, and Muslims have all had the 'joy' of this distinction at one time or another.

In recent years we have made 'progress'. Racism was traditionally the most common prejudice, but recently science/genetics have led to some arguing that race is a construct with little justification; meanwhile the continued intermingling of races, partially due to such rapid transportation, have lead to racial lines growing increasingly intermingled making 'race' harder to define.

To a similar extent villainizing a nation, the way that happened during WW2 or during the Cold War, can become harder. Ease of communication with people from other cultures makes it apparent when stereotypes are unwarranted, and the rapid spread of cultural memes due to communication, travel & internet mean that increasingly shared culture is existing amongst geographically distant nations.

Finally, the internet allows people from minority ideologies or lifestyles to find each other and rally together to defend themselves against negative representations of their lifestyle, which I think is part of the reason cause like gay marriage were accepted so rapidly compared to similar causes of the past like bi-racial marriage.

The point being technology seems to have lead to trends that are causing traditional boundaries for prejudice to be less accepted with each generation. However, while I'm optimistic about this, the fact is human nature doesn't change; and we're evolutionarily predisposed to creating "us vs them" groups that make it easier to justify mistreatment of the "them" group.

So, if we accept my premise that the traditional boundaries mentioned above will continue to grow less acceptable, but that humans will still find ways to be prejudiced, then the question is where will that prejudice appear? Will there be a new class of "acceptable targets", or some new form of ideological division between "us" and "them" that are deemed acceptable for justifying treating a member of the group worse in the near future even as science is working hard to disprove baseless accusations and fast communication makes rumor mongering easily disproved?

I'm looking at near-future, say a generation or two, and particularly want to look at how the technology is helping to modify culture, presuming fast instantaneous communication and internet is now ubiquitous.


one bias I realized re-reading this that none mentioned is language bias. I see this being a big one in the near future, anyone who I can't speak with, despite all my instantaneous communication, is easy to prejudice against. Up until we get language translation services so effective as to make language a minor barrier to communication, which despite our rapid growth in technology I don't see happening for a little while longer.

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    $\begingroup$ Depends on what labels you can put on people. Tribe, ethnicity, religion, gender, age, sexuality, the possibilities are limitless. In the future, besides what we already have, I'd say money and/or access to technology. You shouldn't lose sight of the fact that, while science proved discrimination is generally baseless and stupid, a lot of people don't believe in science. $\endgroup$ – AmiralPatate Mar 29 '16 at 20:52
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    $\begingroup$ @jamesqf yes I was afraid of just that happening, but I don't want to do that. My point was only to show technology changes how we view things, and to define who was going to be acceptable to dislike just for being "part of group X" in the future, without trying to get into what is or isn't right today. $\endgroup$ – dsollen Mar 29 '16 at 22:04
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    $\begingroup$ "science proved racism wrong" is wrong. In fact, science has proven that "races" exist. Human race is basically population sharing some group of traits and this necessarily exist. Other human behaviour helps to keep those traits well-defined. Do not listen to propaganda, be it propaganda from scientists. The moral standpoint is that even if someone is from different race, it doesn't make him less human and have less rights. However, some "races" (or populations) are better at certain tasks than other. $\endgroup$ – Colombo Mar 30 '16 at 0:31
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    $\begingroup$ @Colombo The scientists haven't been telling which races are better at which things, for obvious reasons... $\endgroup$ – wizzwizz4 Mar 30 '16 at 8:34
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    $\begingroup$ @Pyritie I decided to check that and it looks like non-hispanic white people in the U.S. are taller than African Americans on average by 1.5 cm. So perhaps it's not quite so obvious. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Mar 30 '16 at 15:10

11 Answers 11


It seems like you're saying that access to technology allows people to better represent themselves and break down stereotypes and prejudices. So I would suggest that the only stereotypes and prejudices that would remain would be those created by different levels of access to technology.

There are many examples of this. For instance, there are old people or people who don't know much about technology, who are viewed as slow, stupid, or backwards in today's society. In many technological subcultures, there is a disconnect between the 'tryhards' and the 'casuals', people who spend a lot of time with the technology and become adept at it are often at odds with the people who use the technology infrequently and thus know very little about how it works. There are also lines drawn along different products, such as Mac vs PC and PC vs consoles. All of these divisions can be magnified to excessive levels, probably have been by some individuals already, and probably will be even more as technology becomes ever more pervasive in society.

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    $\begingroup$ I'd be perfectly fine prejudicing anyone who (with serious intent) calls someone either "casual" or "tryhard" :P $\endgroup$ – Insane Mar 30 '16 at 3:20
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    $\begingroup$ This is a very good point, but I'd add that technology-based prejudice often goes hand in hand with class prejudice. Many technological things separate the middle class from the working class based on many working class individuals' inability to afford them: access to mobile bandwidth, access to a modern automobile in working order, greater convenience managing one's own money and making digital payments, free time to learn about new technology which may be advantageous... This may worsen in the future. $\endgroup$ – recognizer Mar 30 '16 at 15:43
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    $\begingroup$ @recognizer: While technology-based prejudice, applied universally, disproportionately matches people of the less-technological-access/education/privilege class, and thus lower socioeconomic class, to say it "goes hand in hand" is likely to imply one is likely to experience them both. But every "tryhard" I know of who disdains "casuals", doesn't even think about lower-class people when they think about the category of "casuals". Their internal archetype of the "moron who can't use or understand the technology" (or whatever their choice wording) often has the same socioeconomic class as them. $\endgroup$ – mtraceur Mar 31 '16 at 5:21

Prejudice will go away when in-group/out-group psychology goes away

In-group bias is when a person psychologically identifies themselves to be within a certain group. Anyone who doesn't have this same mental identifier (and outward group characteristics) are the out-group. As a result of in-group psychology we get in-group favoritism leading to special treatment for insiders and horrible treatment of outsiders. Pick your favorite group dichotomy: politically conservative vs politically liberal, Macs vs PCs, Xbox vs PlayStation vs Wii, hicks vs city-folk, uplanders vs lowlanders....or the Haves vs the Have-Nots.

While technology may equalize some stereotypes and improve the representation of some underrepresented/oppressed out-groups, until humans no longer express in-group favoritism, there will always be an out-group to oppress/suppress.

More to the questions main point, yes, there will be new us vs. them dichotomies as each depends on the specific culture and situation of the time. However, without more details about the situation, the people and their culture, the universe of answers is far too large to answer here.

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    $\begingroup$ As sad as it is, your answer is very good. Unfortunately, effects like the in-group bias appear to be pretty hard-wired into our brains through a very long evolution. It is unlikely to go away. Yet i have the hope that it's effect can be reduced through education. $\endgroup$ – Burki Mar 30 '16 at 9:35
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    $\begingroup$ @Burki I am hopeful, based on the fact that our collective consciousness has evolved past some specific prejudices (racism, sexism) in my lifetime, to an extent I never thought possible years ago. I do find it frustrating that we seem so unable to lift our heads above the field and recognize that the no-longer-trendy prejudices and the still-or-newly-tolerated prejudices are all just cases of essentially the same thing, "In-group bias", and that it would serve us well to take the bigger leap towards evolving past them all at once. It's so obvious :-) I do think it will happen. $\endgroup$ – Don Hatch Mar 30 '16 at 10:42
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    $\begingroup$ Sure it does. The underlying cause of all those conflicts is in-group bias. Mac vs PC and German vs Jew are both examples of in-group out-group interactions. Look at the US presidental primaries. Candidates say the most insanely stupid things on international TV. Any objective observer can see they are stupid. But, when viewed through the lens of in-group bias, those statements are examples of the candidate attempting to prove in-groupness with a selection of voters. $\endgroup$ – Green Mar 30 '16 at 15:28
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    $\begingroup$ @wizzwizz4, but who gets to decide what the bad things are and why they are bad? Head scarves on muslim women is a good example. It's just an article of clothing. But, to the muslims, it's a good thing. To feminists, it's bad. Who get's to pick what is right and what is wrong? $\endgroup$ – Green Mar 30 '16 at 16:51
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    $\begingroup$ @Green: It's not choosing to wear head scarves that's the problem, it's people who choose to force other people to wear them. $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Mar 30 '16 at 19:58

On the premise that we would eventually be able to get past our religious intolerance, racism, classism, sexism, nationalism, and cultural intolerance then the immediate answer is Androids or thinking AIs.

Humans would not allow a thinking AI to exist outside of their control. Anything we create would have a kill-switch and other ways to control it. We should expect the first several generation of Androids/AIs to be treated as slaves.

Next since we will not be getting rid of capitalism anytime in the near future, all of the inequality of wealth will continue to exist in the future. Any type of augment that we develop will be sold. As an example, a chip to let you be always online would divide the haves and the have-nots thoroughly.

A person who has not been enhanced might not be persecuted in the traditional sense but the doors open to them would be very limited in a world where it was a prerequisite for most jobs or allowed for enhanced social interaction like smart phones. Depending on how early in life someone is expected to get the enhancement, children are absolute monsters to people who are different and that will never go away.

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    $\begingroup$ "Humans would not allow a thinking AI to exist outside of their control. Anything we create would have a kill-switch and other ways to control it." What is your source? The discussion I have seen about controlling AIs deals with making the AIs want to help humans, rather than forcing them to help humans. Forcing sufficiently advanced AIs to help would probably fail due to the AIs being able to outsmart the controls. See some of MIRI's papers if you want. $\endgroup$ – Kelmikra Mar 30 '16 at 20:24
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah this kind of assumes a very specific AI scenario where AI's are basically just artificial humans. $\endgroup$ – Vakus Drake Mar 31 '16 at 4:02
  • $\begingroup$ @Kelmikra I agree. I am coming from the point that we would try to control them by making them "want" to help us and anything outside of that would be tightly controlled. The idea being forced labor by preventing autonomy of thought. About the kill-switch, whoever built them would have to be pretty stupid to not include one. $\endgroup$ – Kosmos Mar 31 '16 at 15:33
  • $\begingroup$ Are you suggesting that programming them to aid humans would result in lower autonomy of thought than programming them to do something else? If so, how? $\endgroup$ – Kelmikra Apr 1 '16 at 15:03
  • $\begingroup$ @Kelmikra The same way that programming them to want to kill all humans would result in lowering their autonomy or programming them to want to do any other task, yeah. Programming them to have a purpose reduces their capacity for self determination. I definitely see that rabbit hole, and I have no clue what an AI without a programmed purpose is. In my answer though I am saying the opposite, that we would not treat them as equals and that we would control them. $\endgroup$ – Kosmos Apr 1 '16 at 18:35

Prejudice goes both ways

It is rarely the case of a group being prejudiced against while being tolerant and non-prejudiced in return. When it comes to group dynamics and "Us vs Them" thinking, this tends to go both ways. Yes, a black person can be a racist against white people. Yes, a female can be sexist against males. Yes, old people can be intolerant of young. It is just that the white, the males and the young managed to elbow their way ahead of the blacks, the females and the old and as such be able to affect the prejudice with devastating effects.

So what you need to figure out are what new kinds of groups will form in the future.

I can picture two from the top if my head:

Religious Believers vs Non-believers

Non-belief / atheism / anti-theism is strongly on the rise and shows no signs of abating. The outlook that claims of knowing the divine will are essentially meaningless is gaining ground. Theism is having to retreat.

Nevertheless there are still strong theistic forces in motion. The Catholic Church... states like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Indonesia... the violence of Daesh. Religious belief is not going down without a fight.

We can expect that belief and non-belief will have strong friction between each other as belief is being forced out of the public discourse, and the religious struggle to stop it from happening.

Natural Evolution vs Accelerated and Augmented Evolution

We are on the brink of being able to tinker with the human body and biological life itself in some amazing ways. Cybernetic limb replacement is already making us gasp at the obvious science fiction air they have to them. Implants that enable deaf people to hear are already commonplace. Genetic treatments against cancer are progressing in long strides. Some have even claimed that they have created the first entirely human-designed genome and made it viable.

There will be resistance against this. People will be wary of it. The anti-GMO movement is just the start. The prospects are frightening.

EDIT: Also there are those who envision a world where people are self-reliant and throw off all of that infrastructure — in both the physical and the figurative sense — that is needed to maintain the high-tech sci-fi version of the future. A sort of "Back To Nature" movement. Here you find the anti-corporation and the "No to Big Phrama/Corporation/Power/Nuclear/Whatever" crowds.

At the same time there will be those that happily embrace it. Those that feel it is long over-due we overcame the disadvantages and flaws that natural evolution left behind. That it is time we faced off with death itself and showed it its proper place. These people embrace the corporations and organisations that enable this kind of future.

The friction between groups will come to a head. In a sense that debate is already happening (see the comments to this answer). There will be debate and animosity. The naturalists feeling that the modified are unnatural and freakish, the modified that the naturalists are being Luddites, standing in the way of progress and ending suffering. For instance the movie Gattaca explores the relationship between these groups.

Which of these groups will be able to gain an advantage of the others is up to you to explore. :)

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    $\begingroup$ @MasonWheeler Don't get me started, because I will eviscerate your argument there. You claim "it's not anti-science" and then in your following breath go off on a tangent with anti-scientific nonsense. The anti-GMO crowd is just like the anti-nuclear crowd (same crowd by the way: the ideological greens); science has nothing to do with the debate, nor the argument. What they are against is not the product but the product owner and the business forms and business practices they employ. A legitimate argument but not one you can win a crowd for your opinion with. Hence they turn to fear-mongering- $\endgroup$ – MichaelK Mar 30 '16 at 15:35
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    $\begingroup$ @MasonWheeler The claim that Roundup is "highly toxic to human beings". Yes, that is the big point of contention that always gets brought up: that Monsanto makes crops that are resistant to glyphosate weed-killers. But glyphosates are not "highly toxic"; it is one of the reasons that there is so much brouhaha about them. They are possibly carcinogenic. WHO's IARC places them in category 2A ("probably carcinogenic"), which they share with red meat by the way. Muddling the waters like this is non-scientific, and symptomatic of the anti-crowds. Also see the comment above yours. $\endgroup$ – MichaelK Mar 30 '16 at 15:57
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    $\begingroup$ @MasonWheeler That was exactly my point; you said "highly toxic". Maybe carcinogenic is not the same as highly toxic. Glyphosates are not toxic, which is why they are so popular. They don't kill the weeds by poisoning them but making them grow themselves to death. The problem with them is that they are carcinogenic... maybe. So your argument is non-scientific nonsense. And now you say "well go ahead and drink pesticides then!". Pure Appeal To Fear, no science. Fun scientific fact: I drink pesticides every day. Caffeine is a pesticide (and in IARC's Category 2B by the way). $\endgroup$ – MichaelK Mar 30 '16 at 16:16
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    $\begingroup$ +1 to the post, though re: comments: I'd like to point out that I'm against most current big-business GMO practices, yet very pro-nuclear-power and in principle very much in favor of actually ethically responsible development/use of GMOs. And I'm not intrinsically against big business (though history and psychology both show that large collections of people operating in a profit-first(-ish) culture with explicit and legal mandate to maximize profit regularly act in ways neither ethical nor responsible). Point being, your rhetorical brushes are too broad. $\endgroup$ – mtraceur Mar 31 '16 at 5:40
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    $\begingroup$ @mtraceur The world is not black & white, of course. People exist on a continuous spectrum. :) That said... when was the last time you saw the fence-sitters, the moderates or the in-betweeners duking it out and being prejudist? It is always the far ends of the spectrum that get vocal and affect their prejudices. And the far ends is what I am talking about in the answer. :) $\endgroup$ – MichaelK Mar 31 '16 at 6:44

It will be the people who don't keep up with technology or develop their education.

As DaaaahWhoosh already pointed out, old people are viewed as slow, stupid, and backwards in technological contexts. And as a software developer, I've noticed a lot of current arguments that there isn't a lot of diversity in my field, so I'm going to focus on that.

Those people who feel like their group isn't represented in computer science tend to (at least, here in the United States) coalesce where their issues are heard by similar people. Right now, that would be the more liberal, progressive sceneries of the Western university or college campus. Unfortunately, a liberal arts program in Problems My Group Faces does not really tend to provide a lot of computer science degrees, so that cycle continues, especially if that pattern grows.

One of the highest reasons for societal strife is not so much prejudice or racism, but classism and gaps between the lower/middle class and the upper or higher class citizenry.

As technology grows, and if people don't stop self-segregating as much, it means that the positive and healthy economies and job markets of the technological sector will be only enjoyed by the people who become involved in that somehow, to some degree, in some fashion.

People suffer from a severe case of the in-group/out-group mentality, and right now it's one of the most polarized times ever in terms of political affiliation, or whether people are left-leaning or right-leaning.

However, the rich will get richer, and that gap of social class will continue to grow larger if large groups of people keep avoiding STEM-based careers as STEM continues to grow in importance - which it will. And that holds true for anyone - it will be old people who don't keep up to date or keep on secondary education. It will even be people considered "privileged" who also don't pursue it.

People who are poor because they are not involved in higher paying jobs (and technology does very well in that regard, because of the way it's distributed) will continue to be relegated to lower income neighbourhoods and lifestyles. And they will be the most prejudiced against.

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    $\begingroup$ How long is that "old people" stereotype going to last, once "old people" include most of those who developed the technology? (As indeed it already has, for a given value of "old.) Will we see an inverse prejudice against the young, most of whom can't do anything in tech without multiple layers of computer assistants? $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Mar 29 '16 at 21:51
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    $\begingroup$ @jamesqf technology always changes. I have heard complaints about 'old people' who still use C++ procedurally because they don't do OO concepts. They helped to create C, but C is now old as well, and the new iteration of C they are 'too old for'. Of course that sort of the point though, it's a sterotype that is easy to justify by saying "old don't get the new stuff". Yet my mom is more competent with computers then some of my friends, Not all old refuse to keep up with new trends or tech, but it's easy to sterotype them as part of a prejudice in such a way. $\endgroup$ – dsollen Mar 29 '16 at 22:01
  • $\begingroup$ @dsollen: Maybe some of that not keeping up with new trends is because after you've seen a few new trends come and go, you're reluctant to waste time on them unless they provide some obvious benefit. (Experience, IOW.) OO concepts being a good example: they have their place, no doubt, but they were not brought down from the mount graven on tablets of stone. I work with very performance-critical apps, and I've often gotten order of magnitude or better performance just by junking OO concepts. $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Mar 30 '16 at 4:48
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    $\begingroup$ True classicist views, while definitely not extinct, are more rare than most believe. It requires a belief that certain people are 'born to lead' while others are 'born to follow', as a matter of either divine or biological right. Most see it instead as a matter of 'earning' a certain status. If you ask 'why is this man poor?' you will get an answer like 'he made bad choices' or 'he was undisciplined' but you are unlikely to hear 'the poor are born to be poor and can be nothing else, it is the natural order of things' which is the true classicism that supported feudalism, monarchies, etc. $\endgroup$ – otakucode Mar 30 '16 at 9:33
  • $\begingroup$ @Otakucode The modern understanding of Rand's objectivism is absolutely classism. $\endgroup$ – Kosmos Mar 30 '16 at 14:39

This isn't a matter for the future. It is present currently. As race, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, etc have all passed away as socially acceptable sources of prejudice, they have already been replaced. AGE is now the most widely accepted criteria by which it is seen as socially acceptable to base prejudice on.

The support for arguments claiming the validity of prejudice based on age is identical to the arguments claiming to support prior prejudices. Current phenomena which are caused by social treatment of the class are claimed to be inherent traits. Medical and psychological communities support them. When exceptions are encountered, they are dismissed as freaks.

When a child or adolescent makes a statement which conflicts with that of an adult, they can be dismissed out of hand. Their freedoms, to make decisions about their own life, schedule their own time, choose what to learn, what to wear, who to associate with, etc, can all be taken away without any consideration to their own thoughts, as it is claimed and widely believed that they are incapable of making such decisions themselves. Note I am not talking about a view that young people are ignorant. But that they are incapable of learning, as a fundamental property of their identity. When a well-informed young person is encountered, the idea is never entertained that it might be possible for all young people to become similarly well-informed. They are written off as a prodigy and 'the exception that proves the rule.'

Some of the scientific support for prejudice against the young leads to some amusing (to me) situations. For decades, the neuroplasticity of child and adolescent brains was used to justify tremendous restrictions on their lives and removal of almost every form of control they had over their own lives. It was said with such force that the neuroplasticity of youth made them incapable of learning certain complex ideas, fundamentally incapable of long-term planning or rational action, etc. There's a problem, though. Continuing research has revealed that adults, also, retain a great deal of neuroplasticity. At the time, it was presumed that neuroplasticity went away as the brain 'matured' around age 25. Beyond that point, it was believed the brain was 'done' and finally ready to face adult life.

Plasticity does degrade over time, and ceases almost entirely (regardless of age) when novelty and continued learning are cut off, but there is no clear neurological milestone at which you could plant a flag and say "Here, this human being is an adult, prepared for the responsibilities and decision-making that entails." Perhaps we should institute dress codes at places of employment, push the acceptable age of marriage back to 50, and rigorously restrict everything modern 'adults' see, hear, read, etc?

Society took the idea 'the brains of the young are still developing' and somehow used this to support restricting the youngs exposure to new experiences. This is probably the most aggressively destructive thing one could do to a human brain. The visual cortex is most actively developing at birth, and if you conclude that this means it is "not ready" for experiencing the world, and you shut off visual stimuli to 'protect' the developing brain, you will soon discover that the brain does not develop. And also, if binocular vision is not attained by an early age (I believe 2 months), it can never be attained. Brain development is exactly the changes to the brain that occur exclusively as the result of novel and intense experiences. One can not remove the experiences and retain any form of development. And the brain has 'critical periods' during which certain capabilities must be acquired, or else it becomes incapable of ever acquiring them.

When a child is born deaf, we do not look at their developing auditory cortex and conclude that a cochlear implant would be dangerous. We know that it is necessary for such an implant to be installed before age 2 or else the person may never in their life be capable of normal hearing with the implant. We presume, for social convenience and for no well-supported reason, that this type of situation is not repeated in other areas of brain development, such as learning how to deal with complex human relationships, handling one's own emotions, forming one's own beliefs about morality, etc.

The prejudice against the young (prejudices also exist for other age groups, including the elderly, but our society is currently most aggressively discriminating against the young) is a good source of learning, I think. By looking at it, and how you might see it yourself, I believe you can much better understand the prejudices of the past. Personally, I am 37 years old and grew up while most other prejudices were in a position where they were argued about. That is an inaccurate picture of what real prejudice looks like. Real prejudice, which is accepted by a society, is something which the majority believe not to be ill-spirited or even worth discussing. It is simply 'how the world is' and there is little sense in questioning it. That is the situation we currently find ourselves in with the prejudice based on age. Age is understood to be a controlling factor over a person second only to gravity, and one which wipes away any need to engage with a persons situation on an individual basis, because there is no point in even trying to assist in their development as a human being.

  • $\begingroup$ +1, though I almost think the "real prejudice" sentence and the one after it is the strongest part, and it's in some ways a shame that it's all the way at the bottom. $\endgroup$ – mtraceur Mar 31 '16 at 5:43

Your assumptions are wrong:

Will there be a new class of "acceptable targets", or some new form of ideological division between "us" and "them" that are deemed acceptable for justifying treating a member of the group worse in the near future even as science is working hard to disprove baseless accusations and fast communication makes rumor mongering easily disproved?

Yes, science might disprove baseless accusations. But will people believe it?

You just need to look at the current refugee situation in Europe after they got more and more. The biggest camps (letting the refugees aside) are the mostly left "refugees welcome" (I have not found a better name) and mostly right nationalists at the moment. Each group uses the internet and other means to spread roumors and fake evidents about the refugees and the other group.

Some of the bigger mainstream newspapers are regularly disproving wrong rumours (like refugees getting high end smartphones gifted from the state at entering) but many people stopped believing the mainstream media because they tell different things than the things they heared from people they trust and use "alternative" media sources on the internet which more in their line and join groups in social networks which "prove" their believes.

Some extreme nationalists are attacking refugees and left peole with knives, pepperspray and burning down houses and extremists of the other camp attacking the nationalists especially at demos.

Most mainstream stopped to report about such incidents to not heat up the situation more (and maybe because of political pressure). But this also helped the camps to say that they are not telling the (full) truth and distrusting them and using their alternative sources as source for their believe.

People are both: rational and irrational. Let them identify as a group and mix it a fear/common enemy/jealousy/hate/Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt and they get irrational and they will not rationally believe rational proves.

In this case "arguments" of the nationalists: refugees taking away "our" jobs, taking "our" hard earned money for "free" (from the social system), endangering "our" social norms with "theirs", "they" are different/dangerous/people from "their" country are criminals, "we" need to defend "our" country, ...

Arguments of the other camp: people of "our" human race need help because of war and against "those" nationalists attacking people like "us"

Prejudice comes from judging/forming an opinion before becoming aware of the relevant facts of a case. People never know everything beforehand. So they need to judge before it is too late/avoiding risk.

Let's take the following situation: You and your group are walking down a street. You notice a group of another ethnicity/... coming in your direction. You recently heared many examples about violant attacks from people of this kind against people of your kind. Maybe let them look like punks or aggressive. Will you A) ignore them and continue walking normally down the street because you think they have nothing in common with those attacks (dangorous for yourself) or B) think they are dangerous and you maybe will need to defend yourself(safe for yourself)? (I know in many cases there is a third options but lets ignore this for simplicity). If you are choicing B you get prejudice. If this gets bigger or for no reason society gets a problem.

The refugees sitatuation is only one example of many but you can exchange those against many of the other groups depending on the current political/economical/national/social/... situation.

The only way stopping this is by proper education, a social norm against prejudice and having the people a life without fear/common enemy/jealousy/hate/Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt.

I hope I could get this written down in a objective and correct way but I mostly tried to keep it as understandable as possible and it was one of the best examples I could think about.

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    $\begingroup$ Your A/B example doesn't match the real world. There's more to take into account than pure ethnicity and anyone who assumes they are in no danger in the situation you describe is just being stupid, not tolerant, enlightened or open-minded. The proper approach is to always be wary of your surroundings and identify situations that could put yourself or your group in danger and remove yourself from the dangerous situations. Regardless of race, gender or ethnicity of those around you. For example, the clothes people are wearing is far more indicative of potential problems than ethnicity. $\endgroup$ – Dunk Mar 30 '16 at 21:47
  • $\begingroup$ @Dunk with ethneicity/... I ment that this is only one possible classificator (that's what the "/..." was ment for). Take people wearing lower class cloths or punks cloths or hipster cloths if you want. I said the A/B example was very simplified but I will try to find a better version. One of the things I wanted to show, is, that just because there were people of some classification are doing bad things means that people of this classification in generell do this bad things. All murderers ate bread, people eating bread are murderers (see also en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Association_fallacy ) $\endgroup$ – H. Idden Mar 31 '16 at 10:01

Augmented vs unaugmented humans. Meaning mentally or otherwise enhanced, but primarily mentally since in the future economy, mental enhancement will likely lead to greater advantage than any other kind of enhancement, be it genetic or bionic (genetic enhancement will likely play a significant role in mental enhancement).

Brainets are on the horizon (true story, read it here: http://www.nature.com/articles/srep10767). This will possibly be a game changer for psychology and it seems that health care in general is becoming more accessible and there is a new focus on the incorporation of and better access to mental health care in over all health care. So if it becomes very cheap and very effective to heal our emotional wounds and we have technology that allows us to connect our minds directly together - allowing people to know beyond a shadow of a doubt how another person thinks and feels - its likely that the societal impact will be so overwhelmingly positive as to largely erase most forms of emotional violence.

That's the profoundly optimistic view. There may also be a dark side. Obviously mentally enhanced persons and collective bodies that undertake braineting will be intellectually superior to individual, un-enhanced humans, and I doubt that anyone will be required to connect their brains together (though the technology may enable a new and quite disturbing form of mental assault), nor will anyone be required to receive (or accept) mental health treatment. And I tend to reach into pessimism often if for no other reason than just to see what I find there. So of course there will be the potential for augmented humans to even more acutely undervalue un-augmented humans than there is for common persons to undervalue other common persons.

That being said, I tend toward the middle ground. Some of the negative stuff will likely happen and augmented humans may be (much) more difficult to control that their common counterparts, however, once the cat is out of the bag and people embrace the technology, the potential radical benefits will balance much of the bad - and the trend of improvement will likely proceed unabated.


Reasonable people out of step with the current trends will face prejudice and be labelled as bigots and promoters of hate.

If trends for language correctness carry on as they are, the middle aged and above will face prejudice from younger idealists for not keeping up with what the latest acceptable parlance is, and for example saying "colored people", rather than "people of color", they'll be declared to be awful bigots.

Followers of ideologies will try more and more to be conflated with oppressed groups, the same way that some people will try to label you as anti-semitic if you criticise Israel or Islamophobic if you criticise Islamic doctrine whilst never discriminating against muslims.


where will that prejudice appear?

Wherever the "others" are different from your "us".

Will there be a new class of "acceptable targets",

For sure.

or some new form of ideological division between "us" and "them"

Absolutely. Think about anything, anything you are doing in real life. Forget the big topics like race, gender etc.. Are you doing some sports activity? Playing tennis? Then you certainly heard tennis players downtalking, say, badminton or squash players, if maybe only in a funny way. Sure, tennis players would probably not go out and genocide squash players, but this is the root of the problem (as far as it is in itself a problem, which would be a different discussion).

that are deemed acceptable for justifying treating a member of the group worse

Whenever group A differs from group B in any thinkable way whatsoever, and places at least some importance on that difference, you will have your justification for treating the other group worse. This will not go away, but is inherent in psychology. So unless we all transform into a big blob of unthinking gray goo, you will have alienation between groups with different stages of escalation (from slight uneasyness up to all-out war).

Technology may play a part, i.e., reducing said differences, but has nothing to do with the cause of the issue, as far as I would say.


This is an old question so I am surprised no one mentioned it, but what about individuals with large social networks versus individuals without large social networks? As society evolves to depend more and more upon how many social connections or “friends” one has, this is increasingly creating divisions and advantages between the “popular” and the “unpopular”. In a hyper-democratized medium like the internet and social media, those with more followers have proportionately more influence, and thus more power than those with fewer followers. In the future (and arguably now), this translates into real monetary and economic advantages too—just think about the term “professional networking“. The economic advantages conferred to the popular even extend to simple twitter and instagram followers—not too long ago, a clothing store called OnePiece made headlines by offering selective discounts to people based on how many social media followers they had. The idea was to gain goodwill among the “influences” of social media. To my knowledge, they are still doing that to this day. In some industries like modeling, having a large number of followers on one’s personal Instagram account has become a job prerequesite.

A very interesting book that explores this concept is Extras by Scott Westerfeld. In this world, humans, in order to ration the use of resources (to preserve the environment), have established an economy where popularity is literally currency. Having more mentions (retweets, likes, followers, etc on social media in this universe) increases your social “face-rank” which determines the proportion of the community’s resources you are allotted. The idea is to encourage creative work and to place a premium on intellectual property and celebrity in a post-industrial society where “production” is no longer relevant to human happiness.


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