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The first line suggests several things.
First and most simply, it establishes the setting. This is far enough in the future for things to have changed, but still close enough to be considered near future. You can expect things to be somewhat like they are now. That leads to the second suggestion: this society will be related to ours, or close to ours in some way.
The second half of the first line suggests other things. For everyone to finally be equal, things will have had to change. The changes will be fundamental. The idea that people are "finally" equal means that we can expect the changes to directly relate to what's happening now--for the equality that we see in the story to stem from things happening in our time. This nudges us to look for connections between the story and our time: it suggests the story should make us think, not just entertain us.
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