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Automation's role

| Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

You know those self-checkout machines at stores like CVS, Giant Eagle and Ikea? They're symbolic of the relationship between improved technology and unemployment: Find a way to do more with less and you've got more people with less to do.

The mix of high school graduates and dropouts, college graduates and laid-off employees fighting for the same jobs isn't something you or I can do anything about tomorrow, but the ways in which we're becoming victims of our own success is something worth thinking about before it becomes unmistakably clear.

What concerns me is that when I read literature or listen to talks discussing the factors contributing to unemployment, the labor redundancy created by technological innovation is often left out.

The answers elude me, but I would feel better if more people were talking about it.

William Ballow

Oakland

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