Robot workers will replace 5 million human employees by 2020, scientists have recently predicted on the heels of the World Economic Forum (WEF).
The annual meeting, held between January 20 and 23 in Davos, in Switzerland, brought together researchers, entrepreneurs and politicians from all over the world, in order to discuss potential challenges that humanity might face in the following years or decades.
This year’s edition focused on the fact that we are now at the early stages of Industry 4.0, also known as the fourth industrial revolution.
The first industrial revolution was marked by the introduction of steam-powered vehicles and machines in the 18th and 19th century.
The second one, popularly known as the Technological Revolution, entailed an unprecedented process of industrialization, thanks to Bessemer steel, mass production, automobiles and numberless devices powered by electricity.
Similarly, the Digital Revolution dramatically altered the world once again, with the introduction of computers, cell phones and the World Wide Web.
Apparently, recently the Fourth Industrial Revolution has also been launched, and some of its key components include 3D printing, nanotechnology, robotics, virtual reality, autonomous weapons and vehicles, as well as other forms of artificial intelligence.
Now, following its latest event, the WEF has published a report in which it details the impact that robot workers will have on the job market in the next four years.
Apparently, across 15 leading nations, where 65% of the Earth’s workforce is based, the total number of human employees who will lose their jobs because of machines powered by artificial intelligence will reach around 7.1 million.
However, since it is expected that approximately 2 million new vacancies will be created during the same time interval, just 5.1 million people will remain jobless by 2020.
The number is obviously still incredibly high, especially since the International Labor Organization has already issued extremely grim predictions regarding future global unemployment trends.
As researchers from that United Nations agency have determined, the number of jobless individuals will escalate by around 11 million in the following 4 years.
Around two-thirds of the human employees that will be given the boot because of the emergence of robot workers will be concentrated in the administrative and clerical sector.
Here, routine tasks will be easily performed by machines, which will never need any vacations, sick leaves or even basic daily rest.
For example, in the manufacturing sector the percentage of jobs performed by robots will soar from 10% at the moment, to 45% by 2025. Similar changes will also occur in the healthcare industry, and also in the energy and financial sector.
Jobs titles which are the most likely to be taken over by robots include the following: babysitter, pharmacist, tour guide, driver, telemarketer, tax collector, rescue worker, retail sales assistant, baker, accountant, butcher, soldier and store clerk.
On the other hand, robot workers will not be able to perform jobs requiring specific or complex skills, and human beings holding positions such as those of creative driver, scientist, programmer or data analyst will not be negatively impacted by this fourth industrial revolution.
Overall, female employees will be much more threatened by the introduction of more and more robot workers.
Given that they are generally disinclined to work in the engineering or technology sector, and more likely to be employed in slightly lower skilled occupation groups, working as customer care representatives, office assistants, receptionists etc. many of them will have a greater risk of losing their jobs in the future.
By 2020, due to the advent of robot workers, it is predicted that female employees will be ejected from more than 5 jobs, for every new job that will be opened to them; in contrast, their male counterparts will lose 3 jobs for every job opportunity that will be presented to them.
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