Report: Humans to lose 5 million jobs to robots by 2020

BY the year 2020, humans are expected to lose a net of 5.1 millions of jobs to robots and artificial intelligence, according to a report from the World Economic Forum (WEF).

In the report, 15 economies that make up 65 percent – about 1.9 billion workers – of the total global workforce were surveyed. About 7 million jobs will be lost while 2 million will be gained due to technological change in these developed and emerging nations.

Robots have already begun taking over manual labor and jobs, such as cashiers, that involve redundant tasks.

However, smarter machines are also jeopardizing more skilled occupations.

“As entire industries adjust, most occupations are undergoing a fundamental transformation,” according to the report. “While some jobs are threatened by redundancy and others grow rapidly, existing jobs are also going through a change in the skill sets required to do them.”

Jobs in every industry would be displaced, according to the report. But the effects would vary and the most at-risk jobs include data processing and administrative jobs. Latest findings say that two-thirds of anticipated losses will probably be in the office and administrative sectors.

A Business Insider report states that humans could also lose nine jobs to robots: pharmacists, lawyers and paralegals, drivers, astronauts, store clerks, soldiers, babysitters, rescuers (the article notes that robots are able to search areas that are inaccessible to humans), and sportswriters and other reporters.

CNN cited a Bank of America study stating that there is a 90 percent risk or more of the following jobs being replaced: bakers, butchers, tour guides, tax collectors, telemarketers, insurance sales agents, retail salespeople, clerks, accountants and pharmacy technicians.

That report also stated that robots will likely be performing 45 percent of manufacturing tasks by 2025, compared to just 10 percent today.

“To prevent a worst-case scenario – technological change accompanied by talent shortages, mass unemployment and growing inequality – reskilling and upskilling of today’s workers will be critical,” the authors wrote. “It is simply not possible to weather the current technological revolution by waiting for the next generation’s workforce to become better prepared.”

Jobs involving much social interaction, empathy and intuition are least likely to be replaced by technology, according to CNN. Among these occupations include teachers, artists, mental health care workers, police and detectives, and social workers.

Women are projected to be disproportionately affected, with more than five jobs lost for every one gained throughout the next five years, versus one job gained per three lost for men. This is due to the low participation of women in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

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