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Automation entering service industry to overcome human labor shortage

Life was already becoming more automated, but now thanks to the labor shortage, robots are working in new places, like restaurants and grocery stores.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Just about everything is automated in 2020, and while life was already heading that way, the COVID-19 pandemic essentially pushed the fast forward button on the need for better technology

But could all of this new tech be taking away from your paycheck? Let's connect the dots. 

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The pandemic led to a big push for automation and smart technology. Economists at the International Monetary Fund say automation has exploded, particularly in the service industry. 

Machines are taking orders, tossing pizza dough and sorting goods at the grocery store. And the benefits have been twofold. In 2020, robots allowed more workers to stay home and prevent COVID-19 exposure. And now they're filling in the gaps as companies face staffing shortages. 


But that automation is also a scary thing for the millions of people who rely on those jobs. Experts say women and older employees are especially at risk of being let go because they are more likely to work the jobs now being automated. 


Economists say robots and human workers can coexist, it just depends on how companies respond. If they focus on retraining their employees instead of replacing them, it could mean more flexibility and even better pay for everyone. 

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