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German labor leaders embrace the robot revolution

German workers picket. Photo: Michael Probst / AP

German labor leaders don't fear technological unemployment but say they are embracing the robot revolution as an inevitability that can be leveraged to supplement an aging workforce and relieve workers from onerous, dangerous tasks.

Why it matters: Unions in the United States and Europe were caught flat footed by deindustrialization, which took jobs from their members through automation and outsourcing. German labor groups say that to survive they must both protect remaining industrial workers, but also prepare for the economy of the future, and recruit workers who will be working along with robots and artificial intelligence.