Robots and other automated machines will replace humans in more than 20 million jobs around the world by the time we reach 2030. This is according to a new report (opens in new tab) by Oxford Economics, which studies the potential impact of automation in various industries.
According to the report, each new industrial robot destroys 1.6 jobs. Poorest regions are the most at risk, given that in such countries most workers are low-skilled and can easily be replaced by machines.
The workers that get replaced by machines will look for other jobs in industries such as transport, construction, maintenance, and office and administration work, consequently dragging automation along with them, pushing automation further into every pore of industry.
Long story short – the world is potentially at risk of increased economic inequality and political polarisation.
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But it's not all doom and gloom with automation and factories, the report continues. It is also expected that automation will create new jobs and new opportunities, as well as higher earnings for those that employ it.
Generally speaking, humans are at no risk of being pushed out of the workforce entirely – they will still be needed “for decades to come”, especially in jobs that require creativity, empathy or social intelligence.
Since the year 2000, automation has pushed 1.7 million people out of their jobs, the report concluded, which includes 400,000 jobs in Europe, 260,000 in the US and 550,000 in China.
By 2030, Oxford Economics expects China to have at least 14 million industrial robots.
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