The future of grocery shopping has already started to arrive with some supermarkets rolling out home delivery services. Now, Amazon has unveiled a new kind of food store where there are no checkout lines. Instead you check in on a smartphone. The internet of things network tracks the items you take off and put back on the shelves. Then, when you leave the store with your cloth bag full of items, the software automatically bills you to your Amazon account.

As Hot Air suggests, this technology presents quite a challenge for President Donald Trump’s effort to preserve and expand blue collar jobs. Such a store will have a manager and a number of stockers, but no one will be there to check out your groceries or put them in those paper or plastic bags. The technology adds to the convenience of shoppers and likely lowers retail food prices, but at the cost of destroying low skill jobs.

The world where your weekly shopping can be done online with a drone truck delivering your groceries and a quick pickup of party food done with a smart phone will be a vastly different one that the one that is now in the process of going away. Automation is already destroying more jobs in the manufacturing arena than outsourcing is. Now look for the technology to start eliminating employment in the retail sector.

To be sure, the technology that destroys jobs also has a tendency to open up new ones. Farming used to be very labor intensive. Now, with combines and tractors, not so much. But people who used to plant, plow, and harvest were able to go into the cities and get factory work, Information technology arose and created more employment for people who could analyze and code.

One possible bright spot is the rise of 3D printing, which allows for the production of items on demand, creating as few or as many copies as needed.

The possibility exists that 3D printing will cause the rebirth of cottage industries, where small businesses will be able to create custom made products simply by programming them into the printer’s computer, feeding them material, and letting them go to work. 3D printing shops will be spark more creative work than the kind of rote labor traditionally used in factories and retail stores. The adjustment for the current generation will be wrenching, but future generations will know no other way of working.

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