Are robots taking over the world? The Bank of England warns that around 15 million jobs are at risk of replacement by robots in the coming decades.

Speaking to the Trades Union Congress in London, the Bank of England's chief economist, Andy Haldane, discussed how technological advancements will take over employment through the years and how these computers will grab not only physical but also intellectual labor.

With jobs being automated, more companies opt to replace workers who are being paid wages to machines or computers. The result of the Bank of England study shows that jobs which entail 'administrative, clerical and production tasks' are at most risk for replacement.

He added that a wider array of jobs have the highest probability of being automated across the population in the coming years including sales and customer service jobs, elementary occupations, leisure or service occupations and skilled trades occupations.

"[M]achines are becoming ever smarter," Haldane said.

The Bank's own calculations show that, over the course of the next several decades, many millions of jobs in the UK could be at risk of automation, with those most at risk tending to be the lowest wage. As machines improve the greater the likelihood that the space remaining for uniquely-human skills could shrink further.

The negative impact of technology to jobs was present since the ancient times. According to Haldane, ancient civilizations of Greece and Rome faced similar predicaments as industrial inventions replace humans on certain jobs and the cycle went on until the 21st century.

His comments on the potential 'rise of the robots' and automation of most jobs not only in UK but also worldwide, could greatly impact the availability of jobs for people. In fact, out of the 64 million total population of UK today, there are only around 31.21 million people in work. Around 1.75 million people are unemployed but are looking for work. 

All countries around the world are facing high rates of unemployment and the impact of technology will affect many jobs. As modernization increases, job requirements skills become high.

"If these visions were to be realised, however futuristic this sounds, the labour market patterns of the past three centuries would shift to warp speed" he said.

"Machines are already undertaking tasks which were unthinkable - if not unimaginable - a decade ago. The driverless car was science fiction no more than a decade ago. Today, it is scientific fact," he added.

However, he suggests possible ways to overcome job replacements by technology. He said that people should be trained on jobs requiring abilities that only humans can perform like those which entail high-level reasoning and imagination. In these types of work, humans have an advantage over robots.

"For those reasons, I have continued to vote to leave rates unchanged, with a neutral stance on the future direction of monetary policy. Now more than ever, policy needs to be poised to move off either foot depending on which way the data break," Haldane concluded. 

Jeff Keyzer | Flickr 

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