Re: But what are they going to _do_ up there?
"As for the people bit, how much of today's heavy industrial manufacturing is automated?"
I guess you don't actually *get* automation.
You don't take a job and completely automate it. You automate parts of it, ideally the ones best done by a machine, and then still use humans for all the other parts.
You should save a net amount of labour, and hopefully also do the automated part in a more consistant fashion than a meatsack.
But there is no automation without some meatsackage :)
My washing machine and dishwasher do a great deal of the manual labour associated with cleaning up things. But both require me to do a bunch of the stuff. Now, it's the easier parts, but it's not zero labour.
Same for things breaking. There are self repairing systems, but they need a supply of spare/replacement parts. Most systems require some human based fine tuning.