Smart robots will take over a third of jobs by 2025, Gartner says

At its Symposium/ITxpo conference in Orlando, Florida, the technology research firm’s forecast pointed toward a future of not only automated physical work, but cognitive tasks as well.

“Gartner predicts one in three jobs will be converted to software, robots and smart machines by 2025,” said Gartner research director Peter Sondergaard. “New digital businesses require less labor; machines will make sense of data faster than humans can.”

We’ve long heard of automatons replacing factory jobs, but Gartner said, for example, the technological advances in software have allowed machines to perform a variety of tasks that has already infiltrated many industries, including financial analysis and medical diagnostics.

In February, PBS NewsHour’s Making Sense talked to authors Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee of “The Second Machine Age” about what was different with this new wave of technological advancement:

“We are at an inflection point. The first big inflection point in human history was about 200 years ago, when the steam engine started the industrial revolution,” Brynjolfsson said. “That was a period that saw a whole set of new machines come along that could automate muscle power, physical work.”

“In recent years, we are seeing a wave of technologies that can augment, automate all sorts of cognitive tasks,” he added, “and we think, ultimately, those will have as big, or an even bigger effect on humanity as the first industrial revolution.”

Sondergaard said drones are an example of an emerging smart machine that’s competing with the human worker’s cognitive abilities, reported Computer World. Drones’ uses have now extended into agriculture, geographical surveys and oil and gas pipeline inspections and their contributions may become standard in five years.

“One day, a drone may be your eyes and ears,” he said.