About 200 years ago a group of people were worried about machines taking over their jobs.
In this part of the world the Luddite movement needs little explanation. They were mostly weavers, of cotton or wool, who could see that these machines that were being invented would be able to do the jobs of people - they’d be cheaper, they’d be quicker, they wouldn’t need paying and they could work all day and night without sleep.
The Luddites risked prison and in some cases lost their lives fighting to stop it happening.
But what followed was a rapid period of change as advances in machines, science, technology and transport reshaped lives, landscapes and fortunes. Around Leeds the legacy of the industrial revolution can be seen all over, in the buildings, the canals, the statues, the houses and the parks. And although some jobs were lost, many were made, fortunes too were lost and won.
And now we’re on the cusp of another industrial revolution. The robots are coming and once again we know they will do the jobs that humans do now. It is predicted nearly half a million jobs will be replaced by machines in Yorkshire in the next 20 years. They’ll also perform surgery, save lives and make some things cheaper. Whether we are afraid and fight to stop it, or embrace the opportunities it brings is up to us.