Any minute now, some speculate, workers around the world will be asked to make way for robots.

Their arrival may be welcome in some cases. Our latest research suggests that when robots—or automated manufacturing technology—take over jobs that are oriented around repetitive tasks, operators are able to move onto more exciting and productive work.

This was the case at 16 “lighthouses of manufacturing,” which were identified as part of a joint McKinsey and World Economic Forum project presented at Davos.

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