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Advances in robotics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning are ushering in a new age of automation, as machines match or outperform human performance in a range of work activities, including ones requiring cognitive capabilities. In this report, part of the McKinsey Global Institute’s ongoing research into the future of work, the authors analyze the automation potential of the global economy, the factors that will determine the pace and extent of workplace adoption, and the economic impact associated with its potential. The five factors affecting pace and extent of adoption are technical feasibility, cost of developing and deploying solutions, labour market dynamics, economic benefits, and regulatory and social acceptance.