Innovation

Despite the hype, workers aren't scared of AI stealing their jobs

Only 10% of workers agree that AI threatens their jobs today, but many more are concerned for their children's jobs, according to a new Genpact report.

Though some studies posit that artificial intelligence (AI) will majorly cut jobs—especially for low-skill workers—very few workers fear that AI will actually take away their jobs, according to a new study from professional services firm Genpact.

Only 10% of people surveyed said they strongly agree that AI threatens their jobs today. However, 90% said that they believe younger generations need new skills to succeed as AI becomes more common in the workplace.

"Artificial intelligence brings a seismic shift in the future of work—making some roles obsolete and enhancing others, while at the same time creating new jobs and even spawning new professions," Sanjay Srivastava, chief digital officer at Genpact, said in a press release. "Our research shows that employees want and need additional skills to embrace these opportunities. Companies must respond to those needs. Businesses that will succeed in this new world will be those that ramp up faster to invest in the right AI tools and upskill their workforce."

SEE: Artificial Intelligence and IT: The good, the bad and the scary (Tech Pro Research)

This study is the second in a three-part series from Genpact. The first, which examined the C-suite perspective on AI adoption, found that 79% of executives at global companies currently leading in artificial intelligence (AI) implementations expect that their employees will work comfortably with robots by 2020. However, a significantly smaller portion of businesses are providing adequate training and reskilling to address this coming tech disruption, the study found.

Though few workers are worried about their own jobs, 58% of respondents said they fear AI's impact on career opportunities for their children and future generations, this study found. Some 45% of workers said they believe that future generations will need more on-the-job training to properly deal with human-machine interactions.

A third of all workers surveyed said they worry that they will not have the money or time to be retrained to work effectively with AI. These fears may be valid, as Genpact found in their C-suite study that nearly one in five companies have no plans at all to reskill their employees. About one-third provide reskilling to address new technologies, that report found.

Workers perceive that AI's top benefits to their company will be time savings and a reduction in human errors, the study found. And 40% of all workers said they would be comfortable working with robots within the next three years. That number will likely have to rise, as 82% of executives reported plans to implement AI-related technologies in the next three years.

"The big question is how to effectively encourage and adopt human-machine collaboration," Srivastava said in the release. "And the key is in a top-down culture that embraces AI, learning, and training at all levels, within a comprehensive change management framework."

These results echo those of a Deloitte study published earlier this week, which found that 69% of executives leading cognitive adoption efforts said they expect minimal to no job loss due to AI-related projects in the next three years. Gartner also recently predicted that by 2020, AI will eliminate 1.8 million jobs—but that it will also create 2.3 million positions, driving a net gain of 500,000 new jobs.

Want to use this data in your next business presentation? Feel free to copy and paste these top takeaways into your next slideshow.

  • 10% of workers said they strongly agree that AI threatens their jobs today. -Genpact, 2017
  • 90% of workers said that they believe younger generations will need new skills to succeed as AI becomes more common in the workplace. -Genpact, 2017
  • 58% of respondents said they fear AI's impact on their children's and future generations' career opportunities. -Genpact, 2017
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Image: iStockphoto/PhonlamaiPhoto

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About Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.

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