Robots are leaving the factory floor and heading for your desk – and your job • © [theguardian.com]
It could be said that the job of bridge toll collector was invented in San Francisco. In 1968, the Golden Gate Bridge became the world’s first major bridge to start employing people to take tolls.
But in 2013 the bridge where it all began went electronic. Of its small band of collectors, 17 people were redeployed or retired and nine found themselves out of work. It was the software that did it – a clear-cut case of what economists call technological unemployment. Licence-plate recognition technology took over. Automating jobs like that might not seem like a big deal. It is easy to see how it might happen, just as how we buy train tickets at machines or book movie tickets online reduces the need for people.