While machines are on pace to perform more tasks than humans in the workplace by 2025, artificial intelligence (AI) will still add more jobs than it will take away over the next five years, according to a World Economic Forum report released on Monday.
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'Significant Shifts' in Quality, Location, and Format of New Roles
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. Upon conducting the survey which accounted for roughly 70% of the global economy, the WEF estimates that development in automation technologies and AI could displace 75 million jobs by 2022, yet create another 133 million new roles as companies rework the division of labor between humans and machines.
Meanwhile, employees should expect "significant shifts" in the quality, location, and format of new roles, meaning that the typical full time, permanent employee will be less dominant. Many firms may choose to hire temporary workers, freelancers and specialist contractors for tasks not automated by new technology. According to the WEF report, nearly 50% of all firms expect their full-time workforce to shrink over the next few years. The new roles will require additional skills sets for managing the interface between humans and technology, indicated the WEF.
The report forecasts that, by 2020, machines will perform 42% of all current tasks in the workplace. Humans will account for the remaining 58% of the work, down from the current task hours of 71%, wrote the WEF.
The latest report echoes another analysis from global consulting firm PwC, which predicted that AI, robotics and other "smart automation" technology will create new jobs and result in a long-term net positive for the economy.
The WEF concluded that if firms can successfully invest in their current employees to upgrade skills while splitting tasks between humans and machines, there is an opportunity for improved levels of productivity.
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