report that was released by Forrester last month predicts that cognitive technologies will take over some 7% of jobs in the United States in less than a decade (by 2025). Notably, the report asserts that the trend will make itself felt five years from now.

“By 2021, a disruptive tidal wave will begin. Solutions powered by AI/cognitive technology will displace jobs, with the biggest impact felt in transportation, logistics, customer service, and consumer services,” says Forrester VP Brian Hopkins. Forrester estimates around 6% of jobs will be eliminated by as early as 2021.

The study further details that 16% of US jobs will actually be replaced. Much of the disruption will be in office and administrative support staff. The job loss is, however, cushioned by the creation of new jobs at an average of 9% — a total of 8.9 million new jobs in the US by 2025.  These jobs augment “cubicle work,” like monitoring robot professionals, data scientists, automation specialists, and content curators. 


Machines are learning to do more, and they are learning fast. The predicted surge in so-called intelligent agents in 2021 will be brought about by the increasing capacity of machine and AI-based services to deliver. They already understand human language and behavior remarkably well, and moving forward, it is expected that they will learn even faster from their users and predict a person’s needs to the point where they are basically making decisions for them. 

The study also notes that companies like Facebook and Google are working on developing their algorithms by building huge bodies of data. Both are currently creating a baseline set of AI and cognitive services, which other companies can tap by 2021. Facebook’s Messenger already uses more than 33,000 bots.

Alarmingly, 93% of automation technologists think they are only partially prepared to face the challenges of handling smart technologies, Forrester notes. But hopefully, this will free us up for better jobs in the future. Time will tell.