AI Taking Your Job Does Not Seem to Worry Workers: Mixed Messages Despite Dire Warnings

Is Artificial Intelligence a "Job Killer" or a "Welcome Collaborator"? New information highlights the widespread fear of job loss is not resonating with workers.
AI Taking Your Job Does Not Seem to Worry Workers
AI Taking Your Job Does Not Seem to Worry WorkersMark Derho - Leonardo.ai

A Different View Point: "No Signs Of Worker Fear And Loathing"

I echo the sentiment but am aware that AI will replace humans, let's explore the conversation. The narrative surrounding artificial intelligence (AI) and its impact on employment has been a hot topic in recent years. However, Joe McKendrick's Forbes article, "Artificial Intelligence And Jobs: No Signs Of Worker Fear And Loathing," offers a different perspective, suggesting that fear might not be as pervasive among workers as the media suggests.

The Fly (1986)
The Fly (1986) Geena Davis as VeronicaThe Fly (1986)

In one of my favorite sci-fi tech movies "The Fly (1986)", the simple but agonizedly effective tagline is an unforgettable line from Geena Davis' character dialogue. 

Be afraid. Be very afraid
The Fly, Geena Davis as Veronica

Dire Warnings from the Media

Media outlets have not been shy about predicting a grim future for jobs. For instance, Business Insider published a headline in August stating, “AI is going to eliminate way more jobs than anyone realizes”.

Similarly, a March report from Goldman Sachs estimated that over 300 million jobs worldwide could be disrupted by AI, while McKinsey projected that at least 12 million Americans might need to switch careers by 2030.

Goldman Sachs Reports

"A March Goldman Sachs report found over 300 million jobs around the world could be disrupted by AI, and the global consulting firm McKinsey estimated at least 12 million Americans would change to another field of work by 2030. A "gale of creative destruction," as economist Joseph Schumpeter once described it, will blow away countless firms and breathe life into new industries. It won't be all bleak: Over the coming decades, nongenerative and generative AI is estimated to add between $17 trillion and $26 trillion to the global economy. And crucially, many of the jobs that will be lost will be replaced by new ones."

Goldman Sachs

CNN Reports

CNN echoed these concerns, with a headline proclaiming, AI is replacing human tasks faster than you think

Corporate America is rapidly adopting artificial intelligence to automate work once exclusively done by humans. More than half (61%) of large US firms plan to use AI within the next year to automate tasks previously done by employees, according to a survey of finance chiefs released Thursday. Those tasks include everything from paying suppliers and doing invoices to financial reporting, according to the survey conducted by Duke University and the Federal Reserve Banks of Atlanta and Richmond. That’s in addition to creative tasks for which some businesses are already relying on ChatGPT and other AI chatbots to assist, including crafting job posts, writing press releases, and building marketing campaigns.

CNN

MSN Reports

Additionally, MSN listed “24 Careers AI Might Take Over: Will Your Job Survive?” warning readers that no job is entirely safe from the encroachment of AI.

In the rapidly evolving technology landscape, artificial intelligence (AI) has emerged as a transformative force, reshaping industries and redefining the nature of work. As AI advances, certain careers stand at a crossroads, facing the looming threat of automation and disruption. While your job may be safe for now, there’s no guarantee you’ll be set for the future. 

MSN

Boston Consulting Group Survey Reports

Moreover, a survey by Boston Consulting Group found that only 5% of 150,735 workers feared job loss due to AI, while 25% anticipated no impact, and 49% expected AI to change only some of their tasks.

Nearly 40% of employees use generative AI tools regularly, the BCG survey observes. They do not fear generative AI, either — most say that they will need help to understand what skills to build.

Trust is the key. Workers want to be involved in the process of rolling out AI to fulfill tasks. At least 63% seek to have more say over AI implementation decisions, the Salesforce survey shows.

At issue is the fact that 54% say they do not know how AI is implemented or governed in their workplace. Training may be another key to trusted autonomy: 62% of workers say more skill-building and training opportunities would build their trust in AI.

Workers who currently use generative AI do so for simple activities such as research, administration, and translation, BCG finds - “uses that are akin to replacing Google with GenAI,” the survey’s authors observe.

Workers using generative AI the most frequently are leveraging it for their core work tasks, not just for general administrative work and research, the BCG authors add. 

“Personal GenAI applications most often involve finding facts and gaining general knowledge (40%), developing skills and learning (38%), or translating material from other languages (33%).”

BCG

PWC Reports

A majority of 56,600 workers surveyed by PwC also expect a positive impact from AI as well. At least 31% anticipate that AI will increase their productivity and efficiency, while 21% expect AI to create new job opportunities.

https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/issues/workforce/hopes-and-fears.html

Trust and Control: Key Factors in AI Adoption

Trust appears to be a crucial factor in workers' acceptance of AI. The Salesforce survey indicated that 77% of workers eventually trust AI to operate autonomously, with 10% already trusting it today and 26% expecting to trust it within three years.

This trust is built on the desire for involvement in AI implementation decisions, as 63% of respondents wanted more say in how AI is rolled out at their workplaces.

Additionally, 62% believed that more training and skill-building opportunities would enhance their trust in AI.

Generative AI: A Tool for Advancement

Generative AI tools are already being used regularly by nearly 40% of employees, according to the BCG survey. These tools are primarily utilized for tasks such as research, administration, and translation, replacing traditional search engines like Google with more advanced AI capabilities.

Furthermore, workers using generative AI frequently integrate it into their core tasks, using it to find facts, develop skills, and translate materials from other languages.

Outside the workplace, generative AI is also aiding in career advancement, helping individuals create résumés and cover letters.

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AI Taking Your Job Does Not Seem to Worry Workers
AI Taking Your Job Does Not Seem to Worry WorkersMark Derho, Leonardo.ai

Pros and Cons of AI in the Workplace

Pros

1. Increased Productivity and Efficiency: AI can automate mundane tasks, allowing workers to focus on more strategic and creative aspects of their jobs.

2. New Job Opportunities: The emergence of AI can lead to the creation of new roles and industries.

3. Enhanced Decision-Making: AI's data analysis capabilities can provide valuable insights, improving business strategies and outcomes.

Cons

1. Job Displacement: As AI takes over specific tasks, some jobs may become obsolete, requiring workers to retrain and adapt.

2. Skills Gap: There may be a gap between the skills workers currently possess and those needed to work alongside AI effectively.

3. Control and Trust Issues: Workers may feel uncertain about AI's decision-making processes and the lack of transparency in its implementation.

Conclusion

The mixed messages about AI's impact on jobs highlight the complexity of this issue. While media reports often emphasize the potential for job loss and disruption, data from recent surveys suggests that workers are more optimistic and willing to embrace AI as a collaborator.

Trust, control, and ongoing training will be critical in ensuring that AI's integration into the workplace is beneficial for both employees and employers.

As AI continues to evolve, it will be essential to strike a balance between leveraging its advantages and mitigating its risks.

About the Author

Mark Derho is a seasoned expert in the Internet industry with over 25 years of experience in NYC's software development, digital marketing, and advertising sectors. A certified Google Partner, Mark specializes in content creation, AI chatbot development, open-source software, modern website design, and SEO/SEM marketing. He leads PR Website Agency and lives in Puerto Rico with his dog, Luno.

Citations

CNN. 6-20-2024. "AI Jobs Workers Replacing".

https://www.cnn.com/2024/06/20/business/ai-jobs-workers-replacing/index.html

PWC Article. "Workforce/Hopes and Fears".

https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/issues/workforce/hopes-and-fears.html

Goldman Sachs Report. "Generative AI and the Future of Work in America".

https://www.mckinsey.com/mgi/our-research/generative-ai-and-the-future-of-work-in-america

Business Insider. "AI Radically Reshape Job Market Global Economy Labor Innovation".

https://www.businessinsider.com/ai-radically-reshape-job-market-global-economy-employee-labor-innovation-2023-8

Salesforce report. "Autonomous AI Research"

https://www.salesforce.com/news/stories/autonomous-ai-research/

BCG Press Release. "How Work Preferences are Shiftingin the Age of GenAI".

https://www.bcg.com/publications/2024/how-work-preferences-are-shifting-in-the-age-of-genai

Fangoria. "The Fly" images and citation.

https://www.fangoria.com/10-of-the-best-scary-movie-taglines

Goldman Sachs. "Generative AI and the Future of Work in America".

https://www.mckinsey.com/mgi/our-research/generative-ai-and-the-future-of-work-in-america?

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