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 can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.
- Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
- Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
- Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
A new Gallup polls shows the rising support for socialism in the United States.
- Socialism is experiencing a boom in support among Americans.
- 43% of Americans now view socialism as "a good thing".
- There are also more people (51%) against socialism as political stances hardened.
A new study shows that some men's reaction to sex is not what you'd expect, resulting in a condition previously observed in women.
Is this proof of a dramatic shift?
- Map details dramatic shift from CNN to Fox News over 10-year period
- Does it show the triumph of "fake news" — or, rather, its defeat?
- A closer look at the map's legend allows for more complex analyses
Dramatic and misleading
Image: Reddit / SICResearch
The situation today: CNN pushed back to the edges of the country.
Over the course of no more than a decade, America has radically switched favorites when it comes to cable news networks. As this sequence of maps showing TMAs (Television Market Areas) suggests, CNN is out, Fox News is in.
The maps are certainly dramatic, but also a bit misleading. They nevertheless provide some insight into the state of journalism and the public's attitudes toward the press in the US.
Let's zoom in:
- It's 2008, on the eve of the Obama Era. CNN (blue) dominates the cable news landscape across America. Fox News (red) is an upstart (°1996) with a few regional bastions in the South.
- By 2010, Fox News has broken out of its southern heartland, colonizing markets in the Midwest and the Northwest — and even northern Maine and southern Alaska.
- Two years later, Fox News has lost those two outliers, but has filled up in the middle: it now boasts two large, contiguous blocks in the southeast and northwest, almost touching.
- In 2014, Fox News seems past its prime. The northwestern block has shrunk, the southeastern one has fragmented.
- Energised by Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, Fox News is back with a vengeance. Not only have Maine and Alaska gone from entirely blue to entirely red, so has most of the rest of the U.S. Fox News has plugged the Nebraska Gap: it's no longer possible to walk from coast to coast across CNN territory.
- By 2018, the fortunes from a decade earlier have almost reversed. Fox News rules the roost. CNN clings on to the Pacific Coast, New Mexico, Minnesota and parts of the Northeast — plus a smattering of metropolitan areas in the South and Midwest.
Image source: Reddit / SICResearch
This sequence of maps, showing America turning from blue to red, elicited strong reactions on the Reddit forum where it was published last week. For some, the takeover by Fox News illustrates the demise of all that's good and fair about news journalism. Among the comments?
- "The end is near."
- "The idiocracy grows."
- "(It's) like a spreading disease."
- "One of the more frightening maps I've seen."
- "LOL that's what happens when you're fake news!"
- "CNN went down the toilet on quality."
- "A Minecraft YouTuber could beat CNN's numbers."
- "CNN has become more like a high-school production of a news show."
Not a few find fault with both channels, even if not always to the same degree:
- "That anybody considers either of those networks good news sources is troubling."
- "Both leave you understanding less rather than more."
- "This is what happens when you spout bullsh-- for two years straight. People find an alternative — even if it's just different bullsh--."
- "CNN is sh-- but it's nowhere close to the outright bullsh-- and baseless propaganda Fox News spews."
"Old people learning to Google"
Image: Google Trends
CNN vs. Fox News search terms (200!-2018)
But what do the maps actually show? Created by SICResearch, they do show a huge evolution, but not of both cable news networks' audience size (i.e. Nielsen ratings). The dramatic shift is one in Google search trends. In other words, it shows how often people type in "CNN" or "Fox News" when surfing the web. And that does not necessarily reflect the relative popularity of both networks. As some commenters suggest:
- "I can't remember the last time that I've searched for a news channel on Google. Is it really that difficult for people to type 'cnn.com'?"
- "More than anything else, these maps show smart phone proliferation (among older people) more than anything else."
- "This is a map of how old people and rural areas have learned to use Google in the last decade."
- "This is basically a map of people who don't understand how the internet works, and it's no surprise that it leans conservative."
A visual image as strong as this map sequence looks designed to elicit a vehement response — and its lack of context offers viewers little new information to challenge their preconceptions. Like the news itself, cartography pretends to be objective, but always has an agenda of its own, even if just by the selection of its topics.
The trick is not to despair of maps (or news) but to get a good sense of the parameters that are in play. And, as is often the case (with both maps and news), what's left out is at least as significant as what's actually shown.
One important point: while Fox News is the sole major purveyor of news and opinion with a conservative/right-wing slant, CNN has more competition in the center/left part of the spectrum, notably from MSNBC.
Another: the average age of cable news viewers — whether they watch CNN or Fox News — is in the mid-60s. As a result of a shift in generational habits, TV viewing is down across the board. Younger people are more comfortable with a "cafeteria" approach to their news menu, selecting alternative and online sources for their information.
It should also be noted, however, that Fox News, according to Harvard's Nieman Lab, dominates Facebook when it comes to engagement among news outlets.
CNN, Fox and MSNBC
Image: Google Trends
CNN vs. Fox (without the 'News'; may include searches for actual foxes). See MSNBC (in yellow) for comparison
For the record, here are the Nielsen ratings for average daily viewer total for the three main cable news networks, for 2018 (compared to 2017):
- Fox News: 1,425,000 (-5%)
- MSNBC: 994,000 (+12%)
- CNN: 706,000 (-9%)
And according to this recent overview, the top 50 of the most popular websites in the U.S. includes cnn.com in 28th place, and foxnews.com in... 27th place.The top 5, in descending order, consists of google.com, youtube.com, facebook.com, amazon.com and yahoo.com — the latter being the highest-placed website in the News and Media category.
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