The robotics revolution is rapidly accelerating, as fast-paced technological advances in automation, engineering, energy storage, artificial intelligence and machine learning converge continue to transform the capabilities of robots and their ability to take over tasks once carried out by humans.
Already, the number of robots in use worldwide multiplied three-fold over the past two decades to 2.25 million. 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, according to a report released by Oxford Economics, UK.
The rise of the robots will boost productivity and economic growth, and lead to the creation of new jobs in yet-to-exist industries. But, existing business models in many sectors will be seriously disrupted, and millions of existing jobs will be lost. In fact, the study reveals that 20 million manufacturing jobs could be displaced by industrial robots by 2030, which equates to 8.5% of the global manufacturing workforce.
Since 2010, the global stock of robots in industry has more than doubled—as many robots were installed in the past four years as over the eight previous. Approximately every third robot worldwide is now installed in China, which accounts for around one-fifth of the world’s total stock of robots.