Here's a tip: If your job requires repetitive physical activity, it's going to go away. Sooner rather than later. This is not something to be mourned, or to rend our clothes about. This has been the natural progression for at least 4 generations of humans. Who has not worked this out yet?
See if you can find where England closed the coal mines on this chart:
Your first statement is correct: if your job can be automated, it will go away. Your second statement is incorrect: This is something to be mourned or rend our clothes about because it causes lasting sociological damage. Underemployment in the UK right now might be as high as 1 in 6 people, depending on how you count it; the fact that every trash television trend the US is subjected to comes in no small part from the fact that their welfare state is 30 years ahead of ours. People forget: the Luddites were right. The advent of large aristocratically-owned textile mills to replace individual artisan-class family businesses pretty much defined the grinding poverty and degradation of Victorian England. Watch the life expectancies go down:
So on the one hand yes, progress is all about bad jobs going away to be replaced by better jobs (theoretically). But on the other hand, progress is also about hypercapitalists eliminating inefficiencies that generally provide a living for people.
Alfredo Duran, a 37-year-old New Yorker, has been staring down that threat. He began his retail career at the Gap, taking part in that quintessential American rite of passage: getting a summer job in high school. Twenty-one years later – after a career that took him from fast fashion chains to department stores to high-end boutiques and saw him climb the ladder from cashier to visual merchandiser to store manager – he’s looking for a way out.
Let's say Alfredo has been averaging what? $25k a year? Over 21 years, he's a half million dollars worth of wages into retail. And yeah- give a tech firm a half million dollar incentive to replace Alfredo and he's fuckin' gone. Except he's not. He's still got an apartment, he's still got a family, he's still gotta eat and whereas he was a breadwinner and a member of society before, now he's a liability. Price of goods should go down as his salary no longer comes out of the overhead but the fact of the matter is, his boss is still employed (and is probably getting richer) but Alfredo is a shiftless bum now.
I guess he can come pick the moss out of your grille for $130 except you've already got a guy that does that. So now maybe Alfredo is gonna do it for $100. So your moss guy suddenly finds his livelihood eroded. This is why every tile job in Southern California looks like hammered ass - the guys who knew how to do tile had to compete on price with the guys sitting under a tree outside Home Depot and pretty soon the artisans were gone.
There are consequences. For laborers, for employers, for consumers, for governments. In the long run I'm glad that silicosis is uncommon now. In the short run I worry about 3.5 million cashiers (maybe a million of them Union) who suddenly can't feed their families.