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Tony Robbins: Robots will disrupt millions of jobs in the next 10 years—cash handouts may be the answer

Expect significant shifts in the working world over the next decade, says business strategist and No. 1 New York Times best-selling author Tony Robbins.

"The next 10 years, we're going to see more change than we've seen in the last 150 years: in our bodies, in healing, in the way we do business, in robotics and algorithms," he tells CNBC Make It. That's why universal basic income (UBI) — essentially, free cash handouts to residents from their government — "is something we'll probably look at" as a solution.

It could be considered, he thinks, because AI is going to eliminate millions of jobs: "For example, right now if you just take truck drivers and Uber drivers and taxi drivers and replace them, that's five million people. Now, as a business owner, if I can buy a truck that can work 24 hours a day and never get tired and I get to depreciate the asset, or I can have an employee who I have to pay for health care for and only works seven or eight hours, it's pretty obvious where this is going to go."

And this massive shift will happen soon. "Whether it's in three, five, or 10 years — it's probably in the five to 10 year period when we're going to see these changes — that's five million jobs. If you look at what's happening with satellites with farming, that's going to eliminate another four to five million jobs," he says.

"You take those two sectors alone, with the technology coming in, at some point, it'll disrupt more jobs than we had during the world economic crisis."

Billionaires Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and Richard Branson have also weighed in on the topic, predicting that cash handouts will eventually be necessary.

"There is a pretty good chance we end up with a universal basic income, or something like that, due to automation," Musk told CNBC Make It in 2016. "Yeah, I am not sure what else one would do. I think that is what would happen."

In the meantime, "I think all of us have got to be retooling," Robbins tells Make It. "We've got to be saying, 'the world's going to change.' If I'm a truck driver, I've got to know that job is not forever. … That job is going to be going somewhere in the next five or 10 years perhaps, maybe sooner, maybe later, but it's going to be done, so what do I need to go retool right now so I can do something I love and also something that will be in demand?"

The good news is, "there are still going to be things that humans do better than any artificial intelligence will ever do," says Robbins. And at the end of the day, "if you're valuable in the marketplace — if you study, what does the world need and let me get those skills — then you're going to be able to do well regardless of the changes in A.I."

"There are still going to be things that humans do better than any artificial intelligence will ever do." -Tony Robbins

Even if your occupation isn't expected to shrink in the near future, it's important to think ahead and prepare for the future, Robbins says. A.I. may not eliminate your job but, if you rest on your laurels, somebody else could: "I always tell people in businesses, there's always two businesses you've got to manage: The business you're in and the business you're becoming. If you only work on the business you're in … someone's going to replace you. Someone overnight is going to come in and replace your bookstore with Amazon."

If you want to succeed in the long term, Robbins suggests, ask yourself, "What's the business I'm going to have to become if I want to succeed in the future?"

And if you don't own a business, ask yourself: "What's the job or what's the skill set I'm going to need for what my future is going to look like if I want to prosper in the decades to come?"

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