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"If I had to get a new Ph.D. now, I'd get it in polymer engineering - the manipulation of matter."
- Bart Kosko

Robots Take Human Jobs  
  Robots displace human beings in the workforce.  

Fear of automation has been around since the Luddites, if not earlier, but this is an early and explicit use of the idea in science fiction.

He thought that he was living in a world in which the conflict between the machine robots and the worker was so intense that unemployment was serious problem. In practically every phase of life the machine was crowding the workingman out of his job. The robots were selling tickets in the subway stations, directing traffic, digging ditches, building new skyscrapers, forming new and unheard of additions to the army and navy. And some of them, connected to adding machines, and to typewriters in large offices were actually keeping sets of books and doing part of the stenographic work in a purely mechanical way by very capable machines.

In these dreams, Ball saw the gradual starvation of society, first, for the real pleasures of life, then, for the comforts, and later on for the actual necessities. He visioned parades of unemployed workingmen, demanding of capital a right to earn a living. But these very parades were policed by robots with blue-coats on who were very perfect in preserving order by mechanically-wielded batons...

Labor was united in denouncing the entire programme of so universally substituting machines for men. But, in spite of this opposition, the money men who controlled the new companies, such as Robots International, Television, and Radio, were determined to go on with their programme and perform the manual labor of the world with electrified machinery in the shape of men and women, who would be tireless, errorless and wageless.

From The Threat of the Robot, by David H. Keller.
Published by Science Wonder Stories in 1929
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