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Rubio: Politicians Don't Talk Enough About Tech Jobs

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. // Andrew Harnik/AP

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By Mohana Ravindranath April 21, 2016

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Weeks after dropping out of the presidential race, Sen. Marco Rubio has a message for politicians: talk about the jobs that technology will obviate.

Longtime employees concerned about their jobs being replaced “look to their political leaders, and no one’s talking about it, no one’s explaining to them what’s happening,” Rubio, R-Fla., said after accepting a tech policy award in Washington on Wednesday. “The result is that people are incredibly anxious," he added.

Technology policy needs to keep pace with new products and ideas, Rubio said. “We can’t fight it, and we can’t fear it," he said.

Rubio predicted that within the next few years, fast food restaurant workers will largely be replaced by touch-screen ordering systems.

“But there’s these new jobs that are going to be created," he said. "The job of coming up with that machine, the job of designing the software that goes into that machine, the job of installing it, the job of maintaining it, the job of one day replacing it."

He added: “Here’s the difference: All the jobs I just described are going to pay a lot more than the jobs they’re replacing.”

Rubio said he was disappointed the political sphere hasn’t spent more time discussing the impact of technology on jobs, or potential efforts to train current employees to keep up with demand for high-tech skills.

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