02:31 GMT28 February 2021
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    A World Economic Forum study released Monday claims that by 2025, robots will handle more than half of current work tasks, displacing some jobs but creating more than will be lost. However, with the public sector responsible for retraining workers and the private sector’s job creation dependent on chasing profits, nothing’s guaranteed.

    "By 2025 more than half of all current workplace tasks will be performed by machines, as opposed to 29 percent today," according to a Monday statement by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum (WEF).

    The report, titled "The Future of Jobs 2018," predicts the mass automization of the accounting, client management, industrial, postal and clerical sectors, which "could create 133 million new roles in place of 75 million that will be displaced between now and 2022."

    However, service sector jobs like sales, marketing and customer service will increase, as will e-commerce and social media roles.

    The foundation of these changes will be advances in machines, algorithms and machine learning such as artificial intelligence (AI), AFP noted.

    The WEF directors said that by 2022, aviation, travel and tourism will have to retrain their workers as a consequence of the encroachment of robotics.

    The report was based on a survey of more than 300 global companies across a wide array of industries, covering the thoughts of their human resources departments, strategy executives and CEOs, CNBC noted.

    Business Tech reported Monday that a recent survey by Gartner showed that most people welcome the growing influence of AI in their lives, seeing it as having the potential to save them both time and money.

    Findings by the research and advisory firm concluded that 58 percent of respondents would use AI if it helped them save time on tasks, and 53 percent would use it if it could save them money. While consumers were quick to trust AI to analyze their vital signs or provide voice and face-based security measures, they trusted it less when it came to analyzing their facial expressions or drawing conclusions about their emotions.

    "Advances in technology are neutral, neither good nor bad," web developer and technologist Chris Garaffa told Sputnik Monday. "It's how they're implemented that determines the social impact they have. While I am excited about the prospect of using robots and other machines to perform tasks, particularly those that are dangerous or monotonous, our existing social and economic system will only use these advances to benefit one side of the equation."

    Garaffa emphasized the word "could" in the WEF's statement, noting that "as profit-seeking entities, corporations will use the new technology as an excuse to lay off what they'll refer to as ‘redundant' workers. A mass retraining of such a significant portion of the international working class would be massively expensive, and the WEF later identifies this would be the responsibility of governments and not corporations."

    The technologist predicted that with the heavy increase in robotic work and programming AI that goes along with it, STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — will be emphasized, to the detriment of workers in other fields, who "will begin to be left behind without the resources to keep up."

    "It would be extremely unrealistic to expect, for example, every assembly line worker to become a computer programmer, just as it's unrealistic to expect that every student become a mechanic," he said. "In a society that addressed the needs of working people, all work would be valued equally. Unfortunately, capitalism does not provide those guarantees."


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    STEM, technology, retraining, workers, jobs, robotics, machine learning, AI, WEF
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