Amazon just unveiled this compelling video of the store of the future.  (It is also posted below)

By combining advances in camera technology, artificial intelligence and “sensor fusion”, the company believes that soon you will be able to just “grab and go.” In other words, in the near future, you’ll be able to walk into a store and grab whatever item or items you need and leave without ever having to stop at the checkout.

I have no doubt Amazon (and others) will be able to successfully execute on this vision but it does raise an issue: What will happen to the millions of cashiers and clerks who currently rely on these low-paying, entry-level jobs to put food on their own table? How will they be able to “grab and go” without any money in their accounts?

Proponents may say that this is just the nature of technological advancement–farmers, buggy-makers, elevator operators, gas station attendants and telephone operators were also put out of work by technology.

This is, of course, true but it does not absolve civic, business and governmental leaders from thinking about–and preparing for–this eventuality. Specifically, the time to begin retraining these workers is NOW.