Robots will create millions more jobs than they displace, claims WEF

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The Future of Jobs 2018 report claims that roughly 71 percent of tasks are done by humans today, but it calls for a rapid shift in responsibilities over the next seven years.

In a study of executives and specialists across 12 industries, published Monday, the WEF concluded that this so-called "fourth Industrial Revolution" could create 133 million jobs globally, while 75 million workers may be displaced.

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"They entail hard transitions for millions of workers and the need for proactive investment in developing a new surge of agile learners and skilled talent globally". However, in terms of overall numbers of new jobs, the outlook is positive.

The WEF said challenges for employers include enabling remote work, building safety nets to protect workers, and providing reskilling for employees. Survey responses represent more than 15 million employees, and 20 developed and emerging economies which collectively represent about 70 per cent of global GDP.

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Globally, nearly half of all companies expect automation to cut their full-time workforce in the next four years; however, new jobs will still lead to a net gain in employment opportunities if sufficient reskilling is done.

The study aimed to better understand how robot and human workforces will shift in the coming years, as almost 50% of all companies except to see their workforce shrink due to automation.

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"People, whether they're workers or consumers, will only accept and tolerate the consequences if technology serves them - and not they it", Reiner Hoffmann told daily Welt in reaction to the WEF report. Drastic job losses due to the growth of automation in the region - a hub for many manufacturing sectors from garments to vehicles - could produce a spike in labour abuses and slavery in global supply chains, said risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft. But the group said technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics and precision medicine could create more jobs than they threaten. But in that same period-just four years into the future-the study says that up to 130 million more human jobs will be created.

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