Robots are coming for millions of our jobs, study says

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Robots. Is there anything they can't do?

If you answered, "take 5 million human jobs by 2020," you're wrong! At least, that's what a new study published on Monday by the World Economic Forum in Davos claims. The study, which examines the potential future of work across 15 industries, posits a "Fourth Industrial Revolution" in which robotics, artificial intelligence and other world-altering technological shifts make wide swaths of workers redundant.

The study estimates that roughly 7 million will be lost to these changes by 2020, while roughly 2 million will be gained, resulting in a net loss of about 5.1 million jobs.

The WEF warns that women will be the most heavily affected by the changes, because they are less likely to work in the science and technology-rich fields that will benefit from the rise in robotics.


Fittingly, the report came out on the same day as a survey of young people revealed widespread fears about how robots will affect their future. From Reuters:

Four out of ten young people believe machines will be able to do their jobs within a decade, an international survey published on Monday has found.

Nearly half of young workers surveyed in Western countries said their education did not prepare them to do their jobs.

The skills gap is especially pronounced in Europe, according to a poll of 9,000 16- to 25-year-olds in nine of the world's biggest nations commissioned by Indian business and software services firm Infosys.

One place already getting very used to robotics is China, which, as NBC News reported, will "soon be home to more than one-third of the world's latest robots as the automation revolution takes root in the manufacturing powerhouse."

You can watch a video of Chinese workers operating side-by-side with robots below.

(h/t Ars Technica)

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