Davos WEF
Davos WEF

3 ways robots and AI will change the way you work

Robots and AI could change the way you work

Whether you like it or not, artificial intelligence (AI) and robots are going to be a big part of the future workforce.

Amid warnings about "killer robots" from the likes of Tesla boss Elon Musk and the way in which they could take over your job, businesses are bracing for changes to the workforce over the next few years.

In a report published Monday, the World Economic Forum estimated that up to 5.1 million jobs could be lost over the next five years in the 15 global leading economies from disruptive labor market changes such as robots and artificial intelligence.

These developments herald the so-called "fourth industrial revolution", according to WEF, and involves technologies that are "blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres". These will "fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another", Klaus Schwab, the WEF founder wrote ahead of the annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

But how exactly will the way we work and learn change?


Reading, writing and arithmetic skills could change, meaning the focus of curricular could shift.

"There will be a new kind of literacy and that is data literacy. Not just numeracy but looking at the world in terms of computational thinking, the notion we need to give people skills to understand what a world full of data will be about," Nigel Shadbolt, chairman of the Open Data Institute and member of the U.K. government's data policy group, told CNBC by phone.

Shadbolt said that this doesn't mean everyone will need to code, but those that are "data illiterate" will be at a disadvantage when looking to find a job.

Bottom line, the subjects your kids will be studying could be very different from what you studied.

Working from home to working anywhere

Everyone is used to the concept of working from home as connectivity improves. But according to one chief executive, the future worker will have more control over their schedule.

Alain Dehaze, CEO of Adecco Group, wrote in an opinion piece on CNBC that the future will herald a new work-life balance in which a job is "no longer confined to traditional working hours or places, with employees taking total control over their schedules and environments".

Dehaze added that the idea of bringing people from abroad to a company's headquarters could disappear. "Mobility no longer means just traditional expatriate placements, but moving jobs to where talented people are located," the Adecco boss wrote.

‘New class of professional’

One of the biggest fears around robots and AI in the workplace is that many jobs will be replaced and income inequality could rise. Schwab said there could be a job market that is "increasingly segregated into low-skill/low-pay and high-skill/high-pay segments.

But not all are so gloomy. "New jobs are being created, with many individuals able to take on more fulfilling roles, but they will require the training to do so," Jonas Prising, CEO of Manpower Group, told CNBC by email.

Essentially, the jobs being replaced will give rise to new roles that people can take up.

"There are new classes of jobs that we haven't thought of yet. Those who can curate and manage the full rich data lifecycle will be a new class of professional," Shadbolt added.