The study of 46 countries and 800 occupations by the McKinsey Global Institute found that up to one-fifth of the global work force will be affected.
It said one-third of the workforce in richer nations like Germany and the US may need to retrain for other jobs.
Machine operators and food workers will be hit hardest, the report says.
Poorer countries that have less money to invest in automation will not be affected as much, according to McKinsey.
India, the authors write, will only have about 9% of jobs replaced by emerging technologies.