IN an increasingly unpredictable and unsettled world - what with Britain preparing to quit the EU, and Donald Trump in the Oval Office, to say nothing of the widening impact of globalisation and the ceaseless need to minimise climate change - it would be reassuring to be able to cling onto some positive news for once.

A landmark new report, however, reminds us that another great force for change - technology - will have a marked impact on us too. And millions of us may feel a personal impact in ways that we might not with, say, Brexit.

The report, Future Proof: Britain in the 2020s, issued by the leading think-tank, the IPPR, cautions that how we work will change radically in the 2020s. Technological change will not displace human labour, but it will lead to “significant” changes in the tasks we undertake.

There will be a greater emphasis on problem-solving, creative work and interpersonal skills over routine and manual tasks. This, the report adds, will polarise what we do. Different jobs will lead to ever more different lives.

And that’s before you come to the section on Intelligent Automation. It is a cause for concern to read that two-thirds of existing jobs are at risk of automation in the next two decades and that 50% are set to be radically reconfigured by automating technologies.

Sixteen years from now, robots or smart machines are forecast to have, on average, an IQ higher than 99% of humans.

It is a startling thought that 15 million jobs may be automated out of existence. What will happen to those workers and their families? How will they survive? What, indeed, will be the cumulative impact on the economy?

The wider picture, says the IPPR, is that the structure of the British economy will be reshaped by 2030 by demographic, technological and global economic trends. There could be as many as 3.5 million new jobs in education, health and care, business services and the creative sector, even as manufacturing may shrink by 600,000 jobs to two million. And such is the relentless pace of innovation that while some occupations will disappear, new industries will appear as if from nowhere.

The report is an intriguing glimpse into our medium-term future and into the unstoppable trends that will affect the way we live and work.

As ever with change, there will be winners and losers - people who flourish in the new order of things and those who struggle. The report does us a service by pointing out that the bigger immediate challenge is not so much the imminent rise of the robots as the fact that too many people will be ensnared in robotic, drudgery-filled, dead-end jobs.

Thus, it says, accelerating automation ought to be a key political project. We should devote our time to creating institutions around ownership, work, leisure and investment, where technological change is defined by the common good. Such an approach may sound idealistic and difficult to attain - will we really find the political and public will and energy to accomplish it? But technological innovation cannot be stopped. Our children and grandchildren will not thank us if we sit on our hands and do nothing.