Photo: Dan Kitwood (Getty)
A middle-aged man, holding a tool from the machine shop, looking forlorn and wistful. That’s what we might call the stock image of automation fears. It’s the picture that graces the news story about grim job-loss forecasts or think pieces about whether the robots are ‘coming for our jobs.’ (It’s either that or a menacing android.) This is who the robot threatens, who is afraid of the robot: older, semi-skilled, probably uneducated men in the manufacturing industries.
Except it’s not exactly true: Just about everyone, it turns out, is afraid that automation is going to erase their jobs, even the youngest, most starry-eyed among us. Studies have shown that automation has impacted some of the youngest members of