Automation accelerates in retail sector: Retail jobs are disappearing as shoppers adjust to self-service – latimes.com

March 5, 2011

Automation — long a force in agriculture and manufacturing — is accelerating in the retail sector, a trend that could hamper efforts to bring down the nation’s stubbornly high jobless rate.

In an industry that employs nearly 1 in 10 Americans and has long been a reliable job generator, companies increasingly are looking to peddle more products with fewer employees. Shipping and warehousing workers are being replaced by robots that can process packages more efficiently than humans. Virtual assistants are taking the place of customer service representatives. Kiosks and self-service machines are reducing the need for checkout clerks.

Implications for sustainability?
1. few jobs means even greater anger
2. ability to affect the system even more remote as machines can’t engage.
These looks expensive.

My own tendency to use Amazon for all sorts of things means the brown truck driving more miles to deliver small packages..

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