Event: Bloomberg, the emblematic plutocrat, raids Liberty Square to drive out the Occupy Wall Street protest. In fact, looking across America, it's amazing how irritating peaceful protest is to its plutocrats, particularly if it is directed against them rather than some useless issue (that the commercial conservatives/liberals love to waste time on).
The question this should raise: how do a very, very small group of neo-feudal plutocrats control a global population (of economic losers) in the modern context?
Right now? Lawfare and the bureaucracy of the nation-state. As things continue to degrade, that veneer of legality and constraint will fade and become less effective.
In short, bots will increasingly allow a VERY small group of people (in our case, a small group of plutocrats that act as the world's economic central planners) to amplify their power/dominance in a the physical world to a degree never seen before.
Software bots automate information dominance. They can do everything from checking purchasing habits to energy use (via smart meters) to social media use o look for "terrorist" signatures. They can dominate markets as we are seeing high frequency trading. These software bots can also automate interactions with human beings from the simple phone spam/customer service phone tree to interfaces like Siri.
Hardware bots include everything from flying drones to crawling rats to kill, maim, or incapacitate individuals and/or groups. Driven by the ability of computational hardware to mimic nature, these bots will be able to do what their counter-parts in nature can do and more (already, although the data isn't official yet, I anticipate the majority of "enemy combatants" killed by the US security system in 2011 were killed by drones). Expect to see them operating in swarms/clouds, conducting highly autonomous decision making (including the decision to kill), and serving in hunter killer roles.
The combination of the two bot systems, software and hardware, provides the means to automate control of vast populations. A perfect, privatized solution for an extremely small group of plutocrats (many of whom are pathogenic).
OUR job is to avoid this future. Build resilient communities that can provide independence and defend themselves. Provide an alternative for those unwilling to become economic losers.
NOTE: I've built and deployed two big, global bot systems in software, and what they can do is absolutely amazing.