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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Chuck Kennedy / Axios

For two decades, Jim Robinson, managing partner of RRE Ventures, had thought about investing in robotics start-ups but never pulled the trigger. In recent years, that finally changed.

"We've looked on and off at robotics companies frankly for close to 20 years. ... Every half a dozen years we make the rounds to usual suspects. ... [But] it was only in the last fund that we decided it was time, or sort of feeling that the robots are coming."

In a talk today on stage with Axios' Mike Allen, Robinson warned that robotics and automation "will certainly create a great schism'' that will upend scores of professions, not just blue collar jobs. The question, he said, is whether robotics technology will follow historical trends for new technologies and eventually create more jobs than it destroys.

Why this matters: As Robinson explained, a "multi-decade series of policies" is needed from governments to prepare for the disruption that robotics and automation will unleash on all types of jobs, from manufacturing to medicine.

Go deeper

Restaurant software meets the pandemic moment

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Food delivery companies have predictably done well during the pandemic. But restaurant software providers are also having a moment as eateries race to handle the avalanche of online orders resulting from severe in-person dining restrictions.

Driving the news: Olo filed last week for an IPO and Toast is rumored to be preparing to do the same very soon.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
2 hours ago - Technology

How the automation economy can turn human workers into robots

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

More than outright destroying jobs, automation is changing employment in ways that will weigh on workers.

The big picture: Right now, we should be less worried about robots taking human jobs than people in low-skilled positions being forced to work like robots.

House passes $1.9 trillion COVID relief package

Photo: Screenshot via C-SPAN

The House approved President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package on a 219-212 vote early Saturday morning, sending it to the Senate for a possible rewrite before it gets to Biden's desk.

The big picture: The vote was a critical first step for the package, which includes $1,400 cash payments for many Americans, a national vaccination program, ramped-up COVID testing and contact tracing, state and local funding and money to help schools reopen.

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