Innovation

Top 5: Reasons not to be scared by automation

We hear a lot of bad predictions about what automation will do to jobs. But maybe we don't need to be afraid. Here are five reasons why.

According to a 2017 Randstad Employer Brand Research survey of US workers, 76% do not fear their job will be replaced by a machine.

But why is this when there's so much bad news surrounding automation?

Here are five reasons:

1. People are up for retraining as long as pay isn't cut.

Despite what you may guess, most folks don't mind learning a few new things and believe their employers will still need them in ways they couldn't contribute before. Only 6% of business leaders see automation majorly shifting talent needs.

2. Workers believe AI and automation will help them and the company.

A lot of workers feel overworked and believe that automation will make the jobs easier, leaving them more time to get more productive at the things the machines can't do. And that benefits the entire company.

SEE: Special report: How to automate the enterprise (TechRepublic)

3. Some have already seen the benefits.

Nearly half of those surveyed say automation has already positively affected their business.

4. The past is a good example of automation not stealing jobs.

Computers used to be people in a room computing numbers. Machines took away all this work, but somehow office workers didn't disappear. Instead businesses could afford to hire more human-oriented positions that they couldn't before. Things like product managers and customer service.

5. AIs need us.

Maybe someday AI will be able to mimic all the things a human brain can do, but that's quite far away. Humans are better at intuiting things and taking action from indirect experience. Steve Grobman, CTO at McAfee recently wrote about the importance of human-machine teaming in increasing security. That need will likely be true in most industries.

It's not all roses, I know. As with any shift in technology from the lever to the steam engine and on, some people will need some help making the transition. But if we take that into account, most folks don't need to fear automation, in fact it may end up making their jobs much better.

More about automation and jobs:

About Tom Merritt

Tom is an award-winning independent tech podcaster and host of regular tech news and information shows. Tom hosts Sword and Laser, a science fiction and fantasy podcast, and book club with Veronica Belmont. He also hosts Daily Tech News Show, coverin...

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