Robots set to create over 100 million jobs by 2022

Robots aren’t the job-pilfering monsters that Hollywood’s sci-fi community would have you believe, with the World Economic Forum (WEF) predicting in its 2018 “Future of Jobs Report” that they’ll create 133 million jobs by 2022.

Robots routinely feature in unease-inducing narratives about the dangers of autonomous machines, with opponents arguing that the futuristic entities will soon be hoovering up our jobs. While it’s true that robots will be able to take on jobs previously performed by humans – much like mechanisation did for agriculture – experts reckon they’ll actually generate more jobs than they drain. Just like automation did.

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As a prominent the Switzerland-based WEF has shed some statistical light on the situation, predicting that, while robots will displace in the region of 75 million jobs by 2022, they’ll create 133 million new ones. Advances in computing are being held responsible for net growth of jobs worldwide, with the WEF advising that they will free workers up for new tasks.

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People will, in theory, be required to perform roles with “distinctly human traits”, such as customer service, teaching and writing. Meanwhile, technology enthusiasts among us needn’t despair; the amelioration of worldwide computing will see the industry snowball as it requires more specialist workers to deal with data, software and social media.

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Before you go investing your life savings in the robotics industry (in a roundabout bid to climb the career ladder), caution is advised. Sceptics are warning that, while this forecast sounds promising, there’s no guarantee that redundant jobs will be replaced. Even if they are – there’s no guarantee that workers will prefer the new tasks assigned to them.

Even the WEF admits it’s not going to be plain sailing; the think tank warned of “significant disruption” as some roles become increasingly marginalised. Many workers would require retraining – a professional recalibration of sorts – something which could be costly and time-consuming. To top it all off, the preparation of governmental safety nets was advised.

Nonetheless, amid mounting automation anxiety, news that robots will likely hail a net positive creation of jobs is heartily welcome. Time to dust off the old CV…

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