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Machines will do more work than humans by 2025, says the WEF

22 September 2018

Global labour markets are undergoing major transformations with the rapidly shifting frontier between the work tasks performed by humans and those performed by machines and algorithms. Consequently, humans will go from performing 71% of total task hours to 58%.

Leaders of companies who have submitted their views through the LinkedIn network estimate that over half of today's workloads can be run by machines by 2025.

According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), about 133m jobs globally could be created with the help of rapid technological advances in the workplace over the next decade, compared with 75m that could be displaced.

Despite net positive job growth, the WEF anticipates a "significant shift in the quality, location, format and permanency of new roles".

Some companies could choose to use temporary workers, freelancers and specialist contractors, while others may automate numerous tasks. Among the roles set to experience increasing demand across all industries are data analysts and scientists, software and applications developers, and e-commerce and social media specialists, all of which are significantly based on or enhanced by technology. But it suggests that the same technology could also generate some 133 million new roles by then.

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However, Klaus Schwab, chairman of the WEF, did warn that employment gains from technology were not a "foregone conclusion" and called for more training and education to help workers adapt.

They expect that some routine-based human-held positions will become non-essential in the future, like data entry or payroll clerks.

Saadia Zahidi, head of the Centre for the New Economy and Society at the World Economic Forum explained that despite the benefits employers can hope to garner from increased automation, it is still imperative they invest in their employees if they hope to remain competitive.

"The scale of job loss [in the fourth industrial revolution] is likely to be at least as large as that of the first three industrial revolutions", he said.

Less than a third of companies expect the introduction of robots and AI to grow their workforce.

Machines will do more work than humans by 2025, says the WEF