Millions of British workers could find themselves replaced by robots, according to a study by PwC.
In a workplace revolution, computers with artificial intelligence are increasingly being used by companies in place of humans.
It is a sector that could be worth £222billion to the economy by 2030, the auditor predicts, and is expected to prompt a complete rethink about how employees spend their time.
Takeover: Robots weld cars on a Ford production line. Computers with artificial intelligence are increasingly being used by companies in place of humans
Up to 30 per cent of workers – or about 10m people – could be affected, it was estimated.
Instead of driving lorries from the vehicle’s cab, for example, hauliers could allow machines to do most of the route before taking over remotely when they reach busy areas or to carry out tricky manoeuvres.
Machines could also help surgeons carry out operations or read scan results in hospitals, draw up contracts for law firms, manage stock rooms for supermarkets and raise your insurance premiums based on vast amounts of number-crunching.
Alastair Bathgate, chief executive of artificial intelligence software firm Blue Prism, said: ‘We are trying to transform the future of work and to digitise the workplace.’
The firm’s software is used in 271 of the world’s largest organisations. Revenue in the first six months of the year was £9.3million, up 133 per cent from the same period a year ago.
But Bathgate said workers shouldn’t fear the rise of the robots.
He said: ‘It is very rare you see humans losing jobs because of artificial intelligence.
‘Instead, what you find is that people are freed up from boring or mundane jobs that they don’t want to do.’
Euan Cameron, a PwC partner known as the firm’s ‘robot whisperer’, agrees but adds that the take-up of artificial intelligence in the UK is behind rivals.
He said: ‘In a world of administrative AI you have the machines take decisions for you, which can be a scary thing for management.’