AI 'to create twice as many jobs as it destroys'

Factory robot seen at the Wo Bit company building in Poland in July 2018

Factory robot seen at the Wo Bit company building in Poland in July 2018. JP Black—LightRocket Getty Images

Artificial Intelligence is expected not only to eliminate jobs, but to radically reform the way many people perform a lot of work in collaboration with "smart" machines. "At the same time a greater number of new jobs will be created", said Saadia Zahidi, a WEF board member. Humans will account for the remaining 58% of the work, down from the current task hours of 71%, wrote the WEF. By 2025, machines will perform 52 per cent of the total task hours.

The report also predicts that advances in machine learning and digital automation will eliminate 75 million jobs by 2025.

Jobs that require "human skills" such as sales, marketing and customer service should see demand increase meanwhile, along with e-commerce and social media.

Millions of jobs are likely to be displaced by automation but we have less to fear from robots than some might think, a report from the World Economic Forum has suggested.

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. During this implementation period, the person involved develops valuable new skills in AI which can be translated over to other areas where businesses want to use AI and can be used to manage a "team" of AI bots.

"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.

When determining job location decisions, companies overwhelmingly prioritize the availability of skilled local talent as their foremost consideration, with 74 percent of respondents providing this factor as their key consideration.

The WEF Report titled "The Future of Jobs 2018" was based on a survey of human resources officers, strategy executives and CEOs from over 300 global companies across industries, representing 15 million employees and 20 developed and emerging economies.

The OECD instead put the USA figure at about 10% and the UK's at 12% - although it did suggest many more workers would see their tasks changing significantly.

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