The robots are coming - but what happens to the workers they replace?
Published 05/11/2016 | 02:30
As A child, about this time every year, I'd go to the Big Smoke on a shopping trip with my mother. The highlight was lunch in a department store café, where a rudimentary form of automation operated.
Cakes and tarts lay ready-sliced on plates behind a bank of glass windows. Customers helped themselves by flipping open a window and carrying their selection to the till, where their first contact with a staff member happened. Presumably, other employees replaced food behind the scenes, but they were invisible.
The novelty of this self-service arrangement impressed me, and I always begged to take our meal break there. One day, predicted another customer in the queue, we'd insert coins into a slot to open the windows and there would be no need to pay someone at the till. How we all marvelled at such a Space Age scenario.