Millions of Californians’ jobs could be affected by automation

Looking at a map of California on a projector screen, Johannes Moenius, an economics professor at the University of Redlands, hovered his mouse over the Inland Empire, which glowed with a splotch of red pixels.

The colored dots signified how susceptible an area would be to job losses caused by automation. And the alarm-bell red that covered Riverside, San Bernardino and Ontario signaled high risk — roughly 63% of tasks performed by workers in the area could be automated in the future.

To Moenius, the rise of robots in warehouses, factories and fast-food restaurants presents danger for places like the Inland Empire, where most residents work in logistics and the service industry and just 21% of adults have a four-year degree. As technology transforms the nature of work in California, how do people most at risk find their way to new jobs?