Robots will be the next big utility, like electricity, expert Martin Ford says

Are robots a jobs killer?

Robots and artificial intelligence are going to pose a major threat to jobs in the coming years, Martin Ford, author of "Rise of the Robots: Technology & the Jobless Future," told CNBC on Wednesday.

"Machines are encroaching on the fundamental quality that has allowed us to stay ahead of technology [for centuries]," Ford said during an interview on "Power Lunch." Machines are really beginning to "think," and they're in demand, with robot sales up 27 percent in 2016, he added.

On Tuesday, BlackRock, the world's biggest money manager, announced it would overhaul its actively managed equities business, effectively cutting jobs, dropping fees and relying more on computers, or robots, to make stock picks. Maybe it's becoming too difficult for humans to beat the market, after all.

BlackRock's Tuesday announcement validates the fact that it's not just "blue-collar" jobs that could be impacted by the so-called rise of the robots — it will increasingly be skilled, professional jobs that are lost, Ford told CNBC.

"[Artificial intelligence] is going to [soon] be like a utility, like we rely on electricity today," he said, mentioning the potential necessity of a universal basic income, or UBI, in the future to keep unemployed individuals afloat.

"In the long term we will need something like a UBI ... we already have people who feel like they're being displaced [from work]," Ford said. "That's a large part of the reason why President Donald Trump is in the White House now."

Particularly, it will be on Wall Street and in finance sectors where the impact of technology hits hardest, he said, giving examples of financial analysts, business journalists and accountants who are at risk.

"We cannot educate ourselves out of this," he said.

Watch: Robots take on Wall Street

Robots take on Wall Street