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Cashiers, The Future of Work and Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods

Amazon’s $13.4 billion purchase of Whole Foods, announced Friday, could speed that vision along. Amazon has already made shopping for almost everything involve spending less time waiting, doing work or interacting with people, and now it could do the same for groceries. It’s already trying with a store in Seattle, Amazon Go, that has no salespeople or checkout lines.

Our mental image of job-killing automation is robots in factories or warehouses. But the next jobs to disappear are probably ones that are a much bigger part of most people’s daily lives: retail workers and cashiers in stores and restaurants.

For a long time, economists argued that routine jobs like factory and clerical work were vulnerable to automation but that jobs in both the service and knowledge sectors were safer. They require human skills that are hard for machines to imitate, like judgment and adaptability. These skills are useful when an executive makes strategic business decisions or when a chef fries one customer’s egg and scrambles another’s.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Amazon’s Move Signals End of Line for Many Cashiers – The New York Times



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