Report: Robots could replace 5 million human jobs by 2020

It’s been a fear ever since we started putting the most rudimentary of machines together decades ago, and we might be finally reaching a point where it happens — robots are about to start taking human jobs. Possibly a lot of them.

A new report via the World Economic Forum, dubbed “The Future of Jobs,” posits that robots could claim as many as 5 million jobs previously performed by humans within the next five years. By 2020, the study notes that advances in robots and technology could start impacting “white collar” administrative and office jobs the most, though many fields will almost certainly be affected. Don't you want to see one of these the next time you walk into a local business?

According to Engadget, the WEF surveyed 15 countries that make up 1.9 billion workers, including China, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, the U.K. and U.S. (approximately 65 percent of the worldwide workforce) to get to that average. That’s a fairly wide sample, so it stands to reason this data is probably close to accurate. Basically, Ultron is coming for your job. Bad news, right?

Well, all hope is not lost. Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the WEF, noted that the best way to combat the issue is retraining for existing employees, to ensure they can stay ahead of the curve and retain their relevancy in this new robo-economy:

“To prevent a worst-case scenario—technological change accompanied by talent shortages, mass unemployment and growing inequality—reskilling and upskilling of today’s workers will be critical. While much has been said about the need for reform in basic education, it is simply not possible to weather the current technological revolution by waiting for the next generation’s workforce to become better prepared. Instead it is critical that businesses take an active role in supporting their current workforces through re-training, that individuals take a proactive approach to their own lifelong learning and that governments create the enabling environment, rapidly and creatively, to assist these efforts.”

What do you think? Are you worried robots will take your job by the end of the decade?

(Via Engadget, World Economic Forum)