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Technologies are conceived in science, gestated in engineering and applied in industry under the influence of economics and politics. Automation, the application in industry of information technology (IT) and other forms of new technology replace what were previously known as craft skills by other forms of activity. The controversial question is whether this replacement need constitute deskilling; and a difficulty is that repetitive and seemingly unskilled tasks may contain an element of inspection. IT can contribute to the retraining of workers, but a difficult question is what proportion of the population can be retrained for information-based instead of manual work. Automation is neither the sole cause of unemployment nor the remedy for it.