One of the things that has drastically changed since the industrial revolution is the distribution of blue-collar vs. white-collar jobs. As others have pointed out, society's industrialization made the average desk job much more common, rather than reserved for the wealthy elite in business.
As rote, tedious, manual work is automated, there will be even more of a need for positions requiring education. Rather than dropping out of high school in a podunk town in northern Indiana just to go work at an auto factory for the rest of your life, it will be much more valuable to go to college, get a real degree (that is, an education that promotes critical thinking, math and science, and the skills required in those who will design and support and troubleshoot all this new automation technology, not a liberal arts degree that succeeds in little more than teaching you how to be politically correct and "feel" more), and make yourself useful as the world around you continues to evolve.
It is absolutely logical that businesses are going to move more and more toward automation. The cost of labor is high - not just the paychecks, but the benefits, the insurance, the constant evaluations by OSHA to ensure save work environments (not a bad thing, but even a small accidental slip-up can be costly to a large business), and unionization. Machines will never demand a raise, they'll never demand "collective bargaining rights", and they'll never insist on a pension plan. All these are pervasive in the world of manual labor employment - far more than what is commonly seen in white-collar desk jobs.
I think that Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory makes a very good point - Charlie Bucket's father loses his job assembling tubes of toothpaste after his employer buys a robot to do the work. However, the company quickly realizes that they need people who can support and repair those robots, and they hire Mr. Bucket with a better job and better pay, doing something that a robot can't do.
It's a myth that the plebes in society are incapable of getting an education and a real career. Start working on computers. Start working on cars. Learn a trade and become a plumber or an electrician. These jobs aren't going anywhere. We will always need people to fix our toilets and our laptops and our vehicles. We will see an increasing need for people who can engineer new technology, market it, and support it. These are the skills we should be encouraging the next generation of workers to focus on.