There's an interesting little video of economist Michael Spence talking about the impact of automation on society over here.
He compares the industrial revolution and the move to a service economy to the impact that automation will have on a wide range of jobs, and then - importantly - draws out the importance of underpinning business practices with values.
The primary message we hear about automation at the moment seems to be one of fear: Will you lose your job? But, in Spence's words:
“On a very short list of the most important things around here, it’s people and them succeeding in large numbers—that is, the vast majority.”
Against the backdrop of Brexit, British businesses have the chance to think about how they're tackling the question of automation - not just as a tool for efficiency but as a trigger to consider the sort of society we want to live in.
...the business side of this is really important. You can’t do this effectively—this is my judgement—if business thinks labour is just another input where the goal is to minimise costs, and you get rid of it when you can. That’s not the way it works in the societies and the economies that seem to be succeeding most with this.