Here is a little fertilizer robot that scoots around between corn stalks and precisely applies fertilizer. This is a reminder, to me, of how much 21st century economic growth consists of a reduction of consumption. This robot wastes less fertilizer, creates less chemical run-off, replaces some tractors, allows for more fallow land, etc.
There are milking operations now that basically are robotic. The cows mosey in when they want to get milked (and have a snack), and robotic milkers take care of business - no farmer required. When I was a child, dairy farmers had to report to the milk house every 12 hours, rain or shine.
Some of these improvements might be accounted for in lower real costs for the finished goods they contribute to. But, I am struck by (1) how many improvements in the level of negative externalities, quality, and availability we are seeing in sundry goods and services - from internet-based services and delivery, automation, miniaturization, etc. - many of which must not be captured by our measures of economic growth, and (2) how we may be entering a period of history where economic growth corresponds with less consumption, turning ancient Malthusian inevitabilities on their heads (at least until Robin Hanson's ems start to multiply).
The fetishization of manufacturing labor over service labor is an example of the backward looking nature of our cultural biases. The transition from manufacture to service is a progressive piece of this movement toward a better world. The drumbeat of status-knocking dismissals of service work in the guise of altruistic public posturing does not serve this end. (The portrayal of service workers in television and movies always strikes me as disconnected from reality. The service workers I meet are generally polite and respectful, whereas their fictional counterparts tend to roll their eyes and chomp on gum. I suspect there is a bit of projection going on there from the people who write and act in those productions.) The new, better world our grandchildren will create will be dominated by human-to-human services, probably including the resurgence of positions such as personal servants. In fact, many goods and services will, in effect, be commercialized status signaling rituals - such as artisanal production, entertainment, grooming and dressing, elective physical therapies, etc. That's what people do when our basic material needs are met. Our ethical biases were developed in a world where technological progress tended to take the form of mass production - when economic improvement meant digging more iron out of the ground. To the extent that we judge these economic tectonic shifts through our 20th century ethical lenses, we are likely getting in the way of the progress of humanity and the earth we live on. Our grandchildren will care about our distaste of service work about as much as we care about our grandparent's distaste of sexual equality, social media, etc. - that is, not much. And they will be better for it.