#AINews – Most Americans Think AI Will Destroy Other People’s Jobs, Not Theirs

By Innevation Center 2 years ago
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AI is a problem for jobs, say the majority of Americans, but it’s someone else’s problem.

Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of US adults believe artificial intelligence will “eliminate more jobs than it creates,” according to a Gallup survey. But, the same survey found that less than a quarter (23 percent) of people were “worried” or “very worried” automation would affect them personally. Notably, these figures vary depending on education. For respondents with only a four-year college degree or less, 28 percent were worried about AI taking their job; for people with at least a bachelor degree, that figure was 15 percent.

These numbers tell a familiar story. They come from a Gallup survey of more than 3,000 individuals on automation and AI. New details were released this week, but they echo the findings of earlier reports.

One survey conducted by Quartz last year found that 90 percent of respondents thought that up to half of all jobs would be lost to automation in five years, but 91 percent said there was “no risk to my job.” Another study from the Pew Research Center in 2016 found the same: 65 percent of respondents said that 50 years from now automation would take over “much” of the work currently being done by humans, but 80 percent thought their own job would still exist in that time frame.

On the surface, these answers suggest complacency, ignorance, or short-sightedness, but they also reflect a deep divide among experts on what exactly the effects of new technology will have on the workplace. Studies trying to estimate job losses caused by advances in robotics and AI vary wildly. Some claim that up to 1 billion jobs will be destroyed overall as soon as 2022, while others predict that by 2030, up to 800 million jobs will be lost globally, but more than that number will be gained. As you might expect, the methodology in these studies also varies. What counts as “AI” and when is a job “destroyed” are up for debate.

Historically, though, it’s the cheerier scenario that’s been true: technology usually leads to a net gain in jobs, destroying some professions but creating new ones in the process. What’s different this time around, argue some economists and AI experts, is that machines are qualitatively smarter than they were in the past, and historical examples don’t offer a useful comparison. This stance is sometimes presented as a doomsday scenario in which AI and automation lead to mass unemployment.

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