Could it be argued that without 'free will' our society becomes dogmatic, predictable, and joyless? I believe that would be the case.
At Caltech researchers are studying the effects of marketing on the human brain and along the way are getting "a glimpse at how the brain assembles belief." In application, this sort of understanding could create significant and long lasting change in our world. And maybe not for the better.
I am a marketer by profession, and as such, I think a lot about what other people are thinking. If I want people to sit up and pay attention to something I'm marketing then I need insight to what might cause them to do so. If Caltech succeeds in their research, my job will be a walk in the park.
Instead of using intuition and hope, I'd know. My marketing campaign would be built with triggering elements to insure that my targeted buyers have no avenues of choice but for the one I want them to make. They could no more escape my manipulations than choose not to breath, and all along the way my targets would believe they are making the choice on their own.
So what happens when our 'will' is no longer 'free'? Even worse, what happens in our society when we don't even know our will is no longer free?