Automation is an idea that has inspired science fiction writers and futurologists for more than a century. Today it is no longer fiction, as companies increasingly use robots on production lines or algorithms to optimize their logistics, manage inventory, and carry out other core business functions. Technological advances are creating a new automation age in which ever-smarter and more flexible machines will be deployed on an ever-larger scale in the workplace. In reality, the process of automating tasks done by humans has been under way for centuries. What has perhaps changed is the pace and scope of what can be automated. It is a prospect that raises more questions than it answers. How will automation transform the workplace? What will be the implications for employment? And what is likely to be its impact both on productivity in the global economy and on employment? This report was produced as part of the McKinsey Global Institute’s overall research on the impact of technology (read all in the paper)

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