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Feeling AI Anxiety? 41% of Americans Fear Getting Replaced by Tech
Is AI a job booster or job killer? 41% of Americans fear getting replaced by AI, automation, and digitization, according to a new survey by SelectHub. What does this mean for the future of work? The survey also found that Gen Xers were most likely to be concerned and that certain industries were more worried than others.
"The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment." -Warren Bennis
41% of Americans fear getting replaced by AI, automation, and digitization. This is according to new survey results by SelectHub, a "Technology Selection Management" company based in Colorado. The survey captured how professionals feel their jobs will be impacted by disruptive innovation, and what they would do if they lost their job AI, automation, or digitization.
Is advancing tech a job booster or a job killer?
As the survey of 2,000 professionals makes clear, the fear of getting replaced is not spread equally across professions. Certain industries and generations were more optimistic than others.
Industries that have been rocked by disruption, such as publishing and retail, have a higher percentage of professionals that fear being replaced. Retailers, for example, have struggled with consumers who browse in physical showrooms while buying the product cheaper online. It is hard to have the lowest price as a retailer when you have significant overhead. Amazon's push towards quicker times from checkout-to-doorstep, such as through drones, will only add greater pressure on brick-and-mortar retail.
Gen Xers Are Most Likely to Fear Getting Replaced
Gen Xers, at 46%, were the generation that most feared being replaced by tech disruption. This may stem from the fact that they are a sandwich generation in many ways: stuck between Baby Boomers that would retire early if they lost their job and Millennials that may be more flexible with career fluidity.
50% of Gen Xers stated that they would need to get a job in a different industry if they lost their current position through AI, automation, or digitization.
This concern doesn't jive with the premise that tech disruption creates a net positive (or at least neutral) for future positions when eliminating current positions. One of the most contentious debates right now is whether our modern Industrial Revolution will follow past patterns of new job creation (with careers that don't even exist right now), or whether today's upheaval through AI and automation is unique.
When debating the disruption that AI and automation are having and will continue to have in the workplace, people tend to fall into one of three categories:
1. Disruption is good; while certain jobs are being eliminated, many more jobs will be created.
2. Disruption is bad; the rapid advancement of AI and automating jobs has reached a point where companies will need far fewer employees. Increasing productivity and company profits are no longer tied to job growth.
3. Disruption is inevitable; more jobs will be destroyed than created, and we might want to start coming up with a major change to our traditional safety net. It's time to consider a Universal Basic Income.
No matter what category you fall under, it is clear that the fear that advancing tech is having on the workplace is a widespread concern. The fear of getting replaced by a machine far outweighs the fear of offshoring, despite that later being a hot-button political issue.
"So I think there’s a very complicated set of questions here, questions about transitions as we move towards a world in which there’s more automation. It’s a much longer conversation that we’ll have to have over a much longer period of time. So I think this question of automation is actually a bigger deal and I think we got distracted and looked at the offshoring question. Of course that’s real, but a bigger question is what happens to work?"-James Manyika
So, What Happens to Work?
The future really may be like the Jetsons, minus the flying cars. An often overlooked feature of the animated series is that George Jetson only worked about an hour a day, two days a week. His career consisted of typically pushing a single button or series of buttons.
"There is a pretty good chance we end up with a universal basic income, or something like that, due to automation," Elon Musk stated in a CNBC interview in November 2016. "People will have time to do other things, more complex things, more interesting things," Musk continued. "Certainly more leisure time."
Just like George Jetson.
The Jetsons had our idealized version of the future--a life of ample leisure due to automation and hyper-efficiency. Now that the future is here, many of us are wondering if this is what we truly want.
What is human dignity? Here's a primer, told through 200 years of great essays, lectures, and novels.
- Human dignity means that each of our lives have an unimpeachable value simply because we are human, and therefore we are deserving of a baseline level of respect.
- That baseline requires more than the absence of violence, discrimination, and authoritarianism. It means giving individuals the freedom to pursue their own happiness and purpose.
- We look at incredible writings from the last 200 years that illustrate the push for human dignity in regards to slavery, equality, communism, free speech and education.
The inherent worth of all human beings<p>Human dignity is the inherent worth of each individual human being. Recognizing human dignity means respecting human beings' special value—value that sets us apart from other animals; value that is intrinsic and cannot be lost.</p> <p>Liberalism—the broad political philosophy that organizes society around liberty, justice, and equality—is rooted in the idea of human dignity. Liberalism assumes each of our lives, plans, and preferences have some unimpeachable value, not because of any objective evaluation or contribution to a greater good, but simply because they belong to a human being. We are human, and therefore deserving of a baseline level of respect. </p> <p>Because so many of us take human dignity for granted—just a fact of our humanness—it's usually only when someone's dignity is ignored or violated that we feel compelled to talk about it. </p> <p>But human dignity means more than the absence of violence, discrimination, and authoritarianism. It means giving individuals the freedom to pursue their own happiness and purpose—a freedom that can be hampered by restrictive social institutions or the tyranny of the majority. The liberal ideal of the good society is not just peaceful but also pluralistic: It is a society in which we respect others' right to think and live differently than we do.</p>
From the 19th century to today<p>With <a href="https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?year_start=1800&year_end=2019&content=human+dignity&corpus=26&smoothing=3&direct_url=t1%3B%2Chuman%20dignity%3B%2Cc0" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Google Books Ngram Viewer</a>, we can chart mentions of human dignity from 1800-2019.</p><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDg0ODU0My9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MTUwMzE4MX0.bu0D_0uQuyNLyJjfRESNhu7twkJ5nxu8pQtfa1w3hZs/img.png?width=980" id="7ef38" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9974c7bef3812fcb36858f325889e3c6" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
American novelist, writer, playwright, poet, essayist and civil rights activist James Baldwin at his home in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, southern France, on November 6, 1979.
Credit: Ralph Gatti/AFP via Getty Images
The future of dignity<p>Around the world, people are still working toward the full and equal recognition of human dignity. Every year, new speeches and writings help us understand what dignity is—not only what it looks like when dignity is violated but also what it looks like when dignity is honored. In his posthumous essay, Congressman Lewis wrote, "When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war."</p> <p>The more we talk about human dignity, the better we understand it. And the sooner we can make progress toward a shared vision of peace, freedom, and mutual respect for all. </p>
Scientists find that bursts of gamma rays may exceed the speed of light and cause time-reversibility.
- Astrophysicists propose that gamma-ray bursts may exceed the speed of light.
- The superluminal jets may also be responsible for time-reversibility.
- The finding doesn't go against Einstein's theory because this effect happens in the jet medium not a vacuum.
Jet bursting out of a blazar. Black-hole-powered galaxies called blazars are the most common sources detected by NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope.
Cosmic death beams: Understanding gamma ray bursts<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="cu2knVEk" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="c6cfd20fdf31c82cb206ade8ce21ba3f"> <div id="botr_cu2knVEk_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/cu2knVEk-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/cu2knVEk-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/cu2knVEk-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div>
Researchers dramatically improve the accuracy of a number that connects fundamental forces.
- A team of physicists carried out experiments to determine the precise value of the fine-structure constant.
- This pure number describes the strength of the electromagnetic forces between elementary particles.
- The scientists improved the accuracy of this measurement by 2.5 times.
The process for measuring the fine-structure constant involved a beam of light from a laser that caused an atom to recoil. The red and blue colors indicate the light wave's peaks and troughs, respectively.
Scientists at Washington University are patenting a new electrolyzer designed for frigid Martian water.
- Mars explorers will need more oxygen and hydrogen than they can carry to the Red Planet.
- Martian water may be able to provide these elements, but it is extremely salty water.
- The new method can pull oxygen and hydrogen for breathing and fuel from Martian brine.