Robots set to create over 100 million jobs by 2022

Factory robot seen at the Wo Bit company building in Poland in July 2018

Factory robot seen at the Wo Bit company building in Poland in July 2018. JP Black—LightRocket Getty Images

Artificial Intelligence is expected not only to eliminate jobs, but to radically reform the way many people perform a lot of work in collaboration with "smart" machines. The World Economic Forum estimates that machines will be responsible for 52 percent of the division of labor as share of hours within seven years, up from just 29 percent today.

A McKinsey report in December produced one of the rosier assessments, forecasting jobs lost and created by new technology might be about equal by 2030.

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The report also predicts that advances in machine learning and digital automation will eliminate 75 million jobs by 2025.

"Despite bringing widespread disruption, the advent of machine, robots and algorithm could actually have a positive impact on human employment". Among the roles set to experience increasing demand across all industries are data analysts and scientists, software and applications developers, and e-commerce and social media specialists, all of which are significantly based on or enhanced by technology. In the prologue of the report, "calls for action to governments, businesses, educators and workers to take advantage of a window of opportunity, but it closes quickly to create a new future for good work for all". But it also suggests that 133 million new jobs may be created as organizations shift the balance between human workers and machines, a net gain of 58 million.

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They expect that some routine-based human-held positions will become non-essential in the future, like data entry or payroll clerks. There is both a moral and economic imperative to do so.

"The scale of job loss [in the fourth industrial revolution] is likely to be at least as large as that of the first three industrial revolutions", he said. Survey responses represent more than 15 million employees, and 20 developed and emerging economies which collectively represent about 70 per cent of global GDP.

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When determining job location decisions, companies overwhelmingly prioritize the availability of skilled local talent as their foremost consideration, with 74 percent of respondents providing this factor as their key consideration.

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