People have long been nervous about robots and artificial intelligence taking over human jobs - but the next decade will see the process shoot into overdrive.
During the next decade, machines will displace 20 million manufacturing jobs, a report by analyst firm Oxford Economics suggests.
That amounts to 8.5% of the global manufacturing workforce, with each robot displacing 1.6 workers on average.
The report says that robotisation is accelerating due to falling costs, with the average unit price of a robot falling 11% between 2011 and 2016, CNN reported.
The report suggests that 30 million robots could be working in China by 2030, and the benefits to the world economy will be immense.
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The firm forecasts that if robot installations rose by 30% above current forecasts by 2030, it would lead to a 5.3% increase in global GDP, or $4.9 trillion.
But it could fuel inequality.
The report says, ‘This great displacement will not be evenly distributed around the world, or within countries.
‘Our research shows that the negative effects of robotization are disproportionately felt in the lower-income regions compared with higher-income regions of the same country.#
Within 15 years, half of all current jobs will be taken over by AI, one expert suggested earlier this year.
Kai-Fu Lee author of AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order said, 'People aren't really fully aware of the effect AI will have on their jobs.’
He also suggested that warehouse workers, clerks, telephone operators, fast food workers, dish washers and couriers will be among the first to go.
He says that some jobs, such as psychologists and tour guides, which rely on complex human-to-human interactions, will largely be ‘immune’ .
'AI is powerful and adaptable, but it can't do everything that humans do.’
'Human to human interaction is safe, providing comfort and satisfaction is safe.