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Robots will create a 'disruptive tidal wave' for human workers

Researcher Forrester expects 6 percent of all US jobs will cease to exist by 2021. Blame artificial intelligence.

Pepper the robot seems friendly now, but it may secretly be gunning for Neil deGrasse Tyson's job.
Ray Stubblebine/EPA

Robots, self-driving cars and virtual assistants will eliminate 6 percent of all jobs in the US by 2021, according to a new report from Forrester Research.

Customer service representatives will be the first positions affected, then truck and taxi drivers. But, employees working in any easy-to-automate job may be at threat, as businesses look to cut costs with these robots and intelligent assistants.

"By 2021 a disruptive tidal wave will begin," the report stated. "Solutions powered by AI/cognitive technology will displace jobs, with the biggest impact felt in transportation, logistics and consumer services."

Current artificial intelligence-powered assistants, including Microsoft's Cortana and Apple's Siri, are fairly simple now, but will ramp up in complexity over the next five years, helping them make more complex decisions. That will allow these types of AI systems to anticipate users' needs and power self-driving cars, the report said.