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Contribution of software robots to increase by 50% over next two years

The contribution of software robots, or digital workers, to the global workforce will increase by more than 50 percent in the next two years, according to a new report from International Data Corp.

The study, sponsored by artificial intelligence (AI) technology provider ABBYY and based on a survey of 500 senior decision-makers in large enterprises in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Germany, France, and Australia, shows a fundamental shift to a future of work dependent on human-machine collaboration.

“A growing number of employees will find themselves working side-by-side with a digital coworker in the future as technology automates many work activities,” said Holly Muscolino, research vice president of content and process strategies and the Future of Work at IDC. “Think human and machine. The human-machine collaboration is not just the future of work, but it is the new normal for today's high-performing enterprises.”

It’s not just mundane, repetitive tasks such as data input that new digital colleagues will help human workers complete. The growth of machine learning (ML) through human-centric AI means robot assistants will also help employees make better decisions, the report said.

In most cases these technologies enhance rather than replace human capabilities. For example, the study found that technology evaluating information will grow by 28 percent in two years, and 18 percent of activities related to reasoning and decision making will be performed by machines.

IDC forecasts that the intelligent process automation (IPA) software market, which includes content intelligence and robotic process automation (RPA), will grow from $13.1 billion in 2019 to $20.7 billion in 2023.

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