22 January 2020

Just 20 years into the 21st Century, we have already seen remarkable changes that we could never have anticipated. We’ve come up with 20 predictions that explore what the next 20 years may have in store for your organisation.

Prediction 8

Elements of our existence will change beyond recognition courtesy of AI, robotics and automation. As these tools become more sophisticated, intelligent and seamlessly integrated into our personal lives and business operations, they will transform the way we live and work.

Autonomous vehicles will become commonplace, changing the way we commute – flying cars are a distinct possibility – and requiring new infrastructure. Robots will perform everyday tasks and evolve to developing real relationships with people, with applications in areas such as aged care, personal hygiene, teaching and food preparation. These robots will eliminate manual and repetitive tasks.

Avatar robots will also become popular, enabling people to “teleport” their consciousness to remote locations all over the world. Intelligent systems will transform business functions, improving efficiency and eradicating human error.

We may even begin to see the emergence of AI supremacy, where AI is much better than humans at particular tasks – and finally passing the “Turing test”. However, skillsets such as empathy and creativity will continue to be dominated by humans for the foreseeable future.

Trends in AI, automation and robotics


In the age of the bot, employees will be required to re-skill and society may even need to re-define “work”.

In future, economic value will come from functions performed by robots: abundance will have a deflationary effect on all traditional goods and services as AI and robotics are able to produce everything at nominal cost. And while machine errors may cause accidents, the technology will eventually significantly reduce accidents by eliminating human error.

Good design and ethical considerations will be essential, as ultimately the bots will be enabling human experiences, services and interactions.

Nevertheless, there will be challenges to address. Businesses will need to address security risks and counter potential biases embedded into systems and processes. The emergence of AI supremacy will become a mainstream policy consideration.

Curious to find out what else could happen between now and 2040? Read our other predictions

KPMG does not make any statement in this article as to whether any forecasts or projections included in this article will be achieved, or whether the assumptions and data underlying any prospective economic forecasts or projections are accurate, complete or reasonable. KPMG does not warrant or guarantee the achievement of any such forecasts or projections. Any economic projections or forecasts in this report rely on economic inputs that are subject to unavoidable statistical variation. They also rely on economic parameters that are subject to unavoidable statistical variation. While all care has been taken to account for statistical variation, care should be taken whenever considering or using this information. There will usually be differences between forecast or projected and actual results, because events and circumstances frequently do not occur as expected or predicted, and those differences may be material. Any estimates or projections will only take into account information available to KPMG up to the date of this report and so findings may be affected by new information. Events may have occurred since this article was prepared, which may impact on it and its findings.

The information contained herein is of a general nature and is not intended to address the specific circumstances of any particular individual or entity.

To the extent permissible by law, KPMG and its associated entities shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, defects or misrepresentations in the information or for any loss or damage suffered by persons who use or rely on such information (including for reasons of negligence, negligent misstatement or otherwise).