I’m doing some cursory research into the Industrial Revolution as a whole for a steampunk/Victorian fantasy story and one detail of my setting that’s setting off alarm bells in my head is the use of magic to create animated automatons (kinda like golems). The presence of what are essentially magitek robots would imply that they either have or are in the process of replacing human labor, which aside from potentially ruining the whole “horrendous working conditions” aspect of the Victorian era begs a major question.
What kind of economic and societal impact is this going to have?
The Industrial Revolution is already infamous for dehumanization of the workforce, especially children, so what might happen if the technological development of the entire era was accelerated to the point where human workers are being displaced by robots? Would we see effects similar to the real world today, or would the rapid transition from farm-to-factory-to-robots cause an even greater societal upheaval than any of these things taken by themselves?
Basically, I wanna answer a question I’ve long had about steampunk as a whole. What really happens when you introduce robots and even more automation to mid-to-late Victorian era?