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CityLab
Economy

America’s Robot Geography

The robotics industry is powered by high-tech centers as well as manufacturing hubs—with a distinct “Robot Belt” in the Midwest.
Lynx robot with Amazon Alexa on display in Las Vegas
Lynx robot with Amazon Alexa on display in Las VegasRick Wilking/Reuters

Robots, it seems, are everywhere these days. They clean our floors, mow our lawns, make many of our industrial products, and are even being trained to give hugs and serve as pets. As robots increasingly become a part of our daily lives, a growing chorus of commentators warns that they may take away our jobs and further damage the once great Rust Belt cities that once powered the American economy and served as the backbone of the middle class.

But which cities and regions will house the robot revolution? Will the rise of robotics correct or reinforce America’s growing spatial inequality?