Poll Shows How Americans View the Threat of AI Taking Their Jobs


The spectacular release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT in November 2022 has pushed the artificial intelligence or AI dialogue into overdrive. As we evaluate the potential repercussions of advanced AI applications, the impact on employment is of the utmost importance.  

Two significant reports on AI-related employment displacement were published in July. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development reported on July 11 that 27% of positions are at significant risk of being automated.  

In the same month, Pew Research reported a similar finding: “In 2022, 19% of American workers were in jobs that are the most exposed to AI, in which the most important activities may be either replaced or assisted by AI.” 

In our second annual survey of American attitudes toward the future, we asked respondents about their views on artificial intelligence and employment.  

In the grand scheme of things, our survey revealed that Americans comprehend the significance of AI: nearly half of Americans (48%) believe it is crucial to the future economic success of the United States.  

When it comes to the potential displacement of employment by AI, it turns out that Americans are confident that AI will not take their jobs, but are concerned that it will take the livelihoods of others. 

First, we inquired as to whether Americans were concerned about AI displacing American employment “generally.” Options included “very worried,” “somewhat worried,” and “not worried at all.” One in five Americans are completely unconcerned. Four out of five Americans were at least somewhat concerned to extremely worried. A little more than one in five Americans are extremely anxious. 

Next, we asked Americans if they were concerned about AI replacing their jobs. Amazingly, three out of five Americans were “not worried at all.” Only one in ten Americans reported being “very worried.” This survey was conducted with a representative sample of the American populace.  

This finding corresponds closely to a survey conducted as part of a distinct Center for Growth and Opportunity study on the future of labor. This study also employed a survey to assess Americans’ attitudes toward technology and its impact on the workplace, specifically asking whether respondents believed their job would still exist in 30 years. Three in four Americans responded that their job would still exist in 30 years.   

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The Dual Nature of Automation and Robotics: Displacement and Benefits for the American Economy

The spectacular release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT in November 2022 has pushed the artificial intelligence or AI dialogue into overdrive.

Automation and robotics, which sometimes qualify as artificial intelligence but not always, have long been known to displace employees in repetitive occupations such as automotive assembly. However, there is some good news. In 2020, my co author Erica Jednyak and I pointed out that these displacements frequently result in reduced prices and higher quality for American consumers.  

ChatGPT and generative AI have exposed an entirely new category of creative and intellectual employment to the same risk of displacement as repetitive tasks. According to the above-mentioned Pew research, the top three employment categories with the most “exposure” to AI are professional, scientific, and technical services, finance, insurance, and real estate, and public administration. 

This is why we asked respondents if AI would “help” or “hurt” workers in specific industries, such as law, medicine, engineering, journalism, customer service, academia, publishing, management, K-12 education, manufacturing, and transportation. 

Journalism and customer service were perceived to be 10 percentage points more likely to be negatively impacted by AI than any other job category.  

All of these statistics provide insight into how Americans view this new technology.  

The fact that the majority of Americans are unconcerned about AI displacing them reflects, perhaps, their intimate familiarity with their own employment. A discussion about “jobs out there” or “in general,” as we described, can be an amorphous concept that overlooks the complexity of even the most basic occupations.  

Long-distance haulage, for instance, has been thought to be threatened by AI-operated autonomous vehicles, but companies and researchers continue to uncover new complexities on the road that require human input. Full replacement has remained elusive and is likely to remain so for several years.  

This trend is consistent with the adoption of novel technologies in the past. Fears of technologically-induced employment displacement are interwoven throughout human history. Nevertheless, history demonstrates that while some jobs are lost, even more are created or existing positions are made more productive. Americans appear to understand.  

This finding may also indicate a lack of awareness regarding the capabilities of artificial intelligence. All employees in all disciplines should be aware of the potential applications and purposes in their field. As past experience with AI tools has shown, complete displacement is unlikely; rather, augmentation and integration of AI into existing employment is more probable.  

With generative AI tools such as ChatGPT, repetitious, predictable tasks can no longer be displaced or replaced by imaginative or creative tasks such as writing and analysis.  

Our survey can enlighten policymakers and reporters who cover AI that the American public has nuanced views on this innovative technology. As we all continue to learn about the economic ramifications of AI, these two organizations can use their platform to provide sober analysis and data. 


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Source: Fox News

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