Mechanization brought prosperity, but like all good ideas it was first ridiculed, then violently opposed and even the victim of sabotage. In the end though, poluting as ICE cars may be, they spared us from having to clean up horse manure from the streets, and enabled far better transportation. Like all disruptions, the mechanization made it so less workers were needed, but each machine still required an operator.
Once we truly automate, even an operator may not be needed. Computers are getting more and more capable of taking human level decisions, including when to call in the help of other intelligences.