AI and automation set to bring a bigger shift than the industrial revolution

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Automation, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) have the potential to transform the very nature of work but according to new research as many as 375 million people could lose their jobs by 2030 in a larger historical shift than the move from agriculture to manufacturing. 

McKinsey Global Institute's latest report, Jobs lost, jobs gained: Workforce transitions in a time of automation, examines the jobs that could be created as a result of emerging technologies through 2030 and compares that to the jobs that could potentially be lost due to automation.    

Up to 14 per cent of the world's working population (or 375 million people) may have to change their occupation as a direct result of automation, robotics or AI.

One of the authors of the report and a partner at McKinsey Global Institute, Susan Lund offered more insight on the implications of the report, saying: 

“The question is not so much whether there will be enough work to go around in the future, but how individuals, sectors, and entire countries will navigate the complicated workforce transitions that automation will ential in the years ahead.  The coming workforce disruptions could match the scale of the epic historical shifts out of agriculture and manufacturing - and could possibly occur at a faster pace.” 

McKinsey's analysis covered more than 800 occupations across 46 countries that make up 90 per cent of the world's GDP. 

However, there is still time for policy makers and business leaders to make preparations to help offset the job losses that such a fundamental shift to the global workforce would cause. 

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