How robots will change the world


Monday, 05 August, 2019


How robots will change the world

Oxford Economics recently brought together a team of economists, econometricians, modellers and technology experts from across its worldwide network of over 250 analysts to conduct an extensive research study to analyse the robotics phenomenon, culminating in the report ‘How robots change the world’.

The report reveals that the robotics revolution is rapidly accelerating, as fast-paced technological advances in automation, engineering, energy storage, artificial intelligence and machine learning converge. The results will transform the capabilities of robots and their ability to take over tasks once carried out by humans, the study authors said.

The number of robots in use worldwide has multiplied three-fold over the past two decades to 2.25 million, the report shows. Trends suggest the global stock of robots will multiply even faster in the next 20 years, reaching as many as 20 million by 2030 — with 14 million in China alone. The implications are immense, according to the study authors, and the emerging challenges for policymakers are equally daunting in scale.

The report confirms that rise of the robots will boost productivity and economic growth, while also leading to the creation of new jobs in yet-to-exist industries. However, it also acknowledges that existing business models in many sectors will be seriously disrupted and millions of existing jobs will be lost. The study authors estimate that up to 20 million manufacturing jobs are set to be lost to robots by 2030.

The effects of these job losses will vary greatly across countries and regions, the authors said, with a disproportionate toll on lower-skilled workers and on poorer local economies; in lower-skilled regions, robots are predicted to lead to almost twice as many manufacturing job losses. In many places the impact will aggravate social and economic stress in times, they added.

Oxford Economics’ Robot Vulnerability Index highlights specific regions that are at highest risk of labour disruption, and also reveals some common patterns across regions. This index helps identify which regions within the company’s chosen economies (the US, Germany, UK, France, Japan, South Korea and Australia) will be hardest hit by the ongoing automation of the manufacturing sector.

The report can be found on the Oxford Economics website.

Image credit: ©heywoody/Dollar Photo Club

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