We are in the automated future

Concentrator drums inside a taconite plant. (PHOTO: mananc, Flickr CC)

It started long ago. Big trucks and steam shovels replaced small hoppers filled by men with spades. Machines took over for pinsetters at the bowling alley. Before long we were pumping our own gas. Now we scan our own groceries, making sure to check the codes on the bananas before ringing up our purchase, paying, and loading bags into our vehicle.

Each change, a marvel. Each change, lost jobs.

This is the topic of my latest essay for the Minnesota Reformer, “Automatic or the People.” As we all reap the benefits of cheap goods and conveniences, what is society’s responsibility to the people and places left behind?

This is not a cosmetic issue. It’s the substance of our greatest human challenge.

Read it now.


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