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BizReport : Trends & Ideas archives : July 19, 2016

Forrester: Robots will not be stealing all the jobs... yet

Don't believe the hype. That is Forrester Research's advice to those who fear that artificial intelligence will lead to the demise of everyone's jobs.

by Helen Leggatt

"Google AlphaGo's gaming successes and IBM Watson will not usher in a dystopian triumph of machines over humans," concludes Forrester's recent report, 'The Future of White Collar Work: Sharing Your Cubicle with a Robot".

There will be some job losses, says Forrester, but the impact is not dire. Machine learning, artificial intelligence, and robotic automation will likely mean 16% of U.S. jobs will disappear by 2025. However, such technologies will also create new jobs, such as robotic engineers and technicians, data scientists, and content curators, amounting to a 9% increase to 2025. Humans will be left with more 'person to person' jobs and 'higher value' work.

So, the upshot is, Forrester is forecasting a net job loss of 7%, not exactly the end of humanity as we know it. Office, sales, and admin support jobs will be "the most rapidly disrupted", says Forrester. The number of white collar office workers, of which there are 89 million in the U.S., is forecast to decline by 12% between now and 2025.

"The cultural backlash will be real and powerful, but it won't roll automation back," concludes the report. "Labor conflict over automation will escalate as millions of today's employees, short of digital-age skills, slide into the obsolescence queue."

Tags: AI, artificial intelligence, research, robots, workplace trends

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