While popular culture reflects our fascination with the concept of artificial intelligence (AI) machines integrating with society and the possible impacts this will have on the world, it seems that a robotic workforce may become a reality much sooner than we thought.

Trends reported by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in January suggest that we have until 2020 to prepare to compete with artificially intelligent job seekers.

Titled the ‘Future of Jobs’, the WEF report revealed some possibly concerning information: Advanced robotics, self-driving cars, artificial intelligence and ‘machine learning’ will soon effect world economies, and our jobs. The biggest take away is the statement that a “net loss of 5.1 million jobs over the next five years__ is expected.” The study includes 15 leading economies, and South Africa is one of them.

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