AIs are already gaining citizenship rights. A few countries are experimenting with the idea, particularly in countries that have trouble finding employees. A legal breakthrough or loophole has been described that could allow AIs in the US to become a legal entity, a person. If corporations can be legal entities and effectively treated as people, and if a computer program can be granted control of a limited liability corporation, then it is possible for an AI to effectively own and operate the LLC without human intervention. While that sounds academic, the concern is that as a corporation the AI could accumulate wealth with no expectation that it would ever be inherited or redistributed. As we’ve witnessed, wealth and income inequality continue to expand. There are human influences though as wealth is used to buy goods and services, and heirs further redistribute at least some wealth (though not enough to curtail the inequality.) With an AI, the wealth can accumulate without limit and with dramatically lower expenses. More money is removed from the economy and power shifts, probably in unexpected ways. An idea that was fiction a few years ago could become a reality in the time it takes to resolve a few court cases.

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