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Only 13 Percent of Americans Are Scared Robots Will Take Their Jobs, Gallup Poll Shows (cnbc.com) 267

According to the results of a Gallup poll released mid-August, most employed U.S. adults aren't too worried about technology eliminating their jobs. Only 13 percent of Americans are fearful that tech will eradicate their work opportunities in the near future, according to the poll. Workers are relatively more concerned about immediate issues like wages and benefits. CNBC reports: This corresponds with another recent Gallup survey finding that about one in eight workers, or 13 percent of Americans, also believe it's likely they will lose their jobs due to new technology, automation, robots or AI in the next five years. While the survey reflects a generally confident American workforce, Monster career expert Vicki Salemi tells CNBC Make It that people should not become complacent.

"Employees need to think of themselves as replaceable in a way that propels them into action," Salemi says, "so they can focus on continuously learning and sharpening their skills." In the meantime, Americans can look to what the tech giants are saying. On the contrary, Salemi emphasizes that Americans shouldn't be paranoid and lose sleep every night. Rather, they should think about AI "from a place of power." "If your job does start to get automated, you'll already have a game plan and solid skill set to back you up for your next career move," she says. If you find yourself in the 13 percent of Americans worried about losing their jobs to robots, Salemi says you can "robot-proof" your job through networking. "Always be on top of your game, she says. "If your industry is becoming more digitally focused, get schooled on specific skills. Instead of being lax about your career, always stay ahead of the curve, keep your resume in circulation, ask yourself where the industry is headed and most importantly where you and your skills fit in."

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Only 13 Percent of Americans Are Scared Robots Will Take Their Jobs, Gallup Poll Shows

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  • by wbr1 ( 2538558 ) on Tuesday September 05, 2017 @07:23PM (#55145041)
    the headline in 2027 reads, only 13% of Americans have jobs after robots took over.
    • Somewhere in the 1990s (really really late in the 1990s) only 13% of Americans surveyed thought the Internet would be anything of interest to them.

    • Oh come on, surely you trust the American population to know where automation is headed! :D

    • Exactly. My first thought upon reading this was that 74% of the workforce is deluding themselves.

  • Three possibilities (Score:5, Interesting)

    by WillAffleckUW ( 858324 ) on Tuesday September 05, 2017 @07:24PM (#55145049) Homepage Journal

    1. People with landlines who answer polls are mostly old retired people who don't have to worry about job loss.

    2. Only thirteen percent of Americans live in Fear. They probably watch some TV channel that starts with F.

    3. 87 percent of Americans are blissfully unaware that robots are going to take their jobs.

    Pick two.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      The people who really fear stuff like this are the progressives who are convinced that wealth is not something that is created but just fought over. To them the pie is always the same size and if someone gets a bigger piece, that means someone else got a smaller piece. Robots will not create any wealth. They will just take it from real people, right?

      If I make $10, that means that somebody else didn't get it. Maybe I was one of those one-percenters who was privileged and did not earn or deserve it. It can't
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        Wow. You really don't get what conservatives are. Conservatives always believe in a fixed pie, and getting a larger slice.

        Everyone else just makes more pies. And brownies.

        Because sometimes you don't want pie.

        It's called capitalism. You may have missed it. Check out Adam Smith's seven books (not just one or two, seven).

        • The economy wrt AI is indistinguishable from a fixed pie, as destruction exceeds replacement - especially for displaced persons.
        • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

          It only really work when there is free land to steal and new resources to claim. Right now mass economic cannibalism is going on the rich parasitically feeding off the poor, basically bringing the system to failure, getting closer and closer. So the majority believe all sorts of silly stuff, still investing in underwater front (should be some real bargains in Houston shortly), the US has a democracy, they won't lose their jobs to robots, that US main stream media news is worth paying attention to, the rest

        • You really don't get what conservatives are. Conservatives always believe in a fixed pie, and getting a larger slice.

          Then there is a massive difference between the UK and the USA. Here in the UK, it is the conservatives (right) that think the pie (capital) grows as a result of investing capital - which explains why the rich get richer, and Labour (the left) who think if some else has more than they do (mostly nothing) then its because that other person took their share, and the rich get richer because the

          • by jbengt ( 874751 )
            It seems you meant to say Envy rather than Jealousy.
            Either way, an interesting take on the economic meme that things are simply worth whatever people are willing to pay for them (or sell them for).
        • by genfail ( 777943 )
          Maybe you should read all seven of his books since Adam Smith was anti-capitalist.
      • On a more practical level, I'm convinced that the people terrified of this robot apocalypse don't have a lot of broad experience with many blue-collar jobs (or even white collar jobs outside the tech industry), and don't realize how utterly impractical it would be for robots or AI to take over many of those jobs in the foreseeable future. There are a hell of a lot of jobs besides factory assembly-line work, or drone-like data analysis which advanced algorithms can theoretically do.

        In short, the notion that

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Such changes can happen suddenly.

          It is impossible until it isn't. Then it becomes possible very quickly.

          The types of learning AI we're seeing being deployed now would at the very minimum reduce the number of blue collar workers it would take to do the same job. "Manage by exception rather than the rule." As a result, many jobs could potentially be outsourced or offloaded to AI vendors, requiring a handful of people to oversee the machines.

          Just because you can't envision blue collar jobs being done by machin

        • What is replaceable with tech I'm aware of in the next 2 years: Fast food jobs, retail jobs, drop-ship jobs, call center jobs, delivery jobs, construction jobs, factory manufacturing jobs.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by ErichTheRed ( 39327 )

        The problem with this argument is that wealth isn't created. It's like energy conservation -- it's a fixed supply of money that just keeps getting shifted around. If I pay someone $10, I have $10 less and they have $10 more, but the only way wealth can be created or destroyed is by changing the money supply. In previous generations in the US, this fixed-size pie was more evenly divided for a few reasons;
        - High corporate taxes meant that companies avoided them by paying workers more and giving them more gene

        • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Tuesday September 05, 2017 @08:34PM (#55145471)

          The problem with this argument is that wealth isn't created. It's like energy conservation

          If that were true, we would all still be in the stone age.

          If I pay someone $10, I have $10 less and they have $10 more, but the only way wealth can be created or destroyed is by changing the money supply.

          Nonsense. This would only be true if things were worth the same to everyone. If someone pays $5 for my app, I am $5 richer since that app had a marginal value of $0 to me (I can make as many copies as I want). The buyer is also richer, since that app is worth more than $5 to him, or he wouldn't have bought it.

        • by HiThere ( 15173 )

          Money is not wealth. Money is something that can usually be exchanged for wealth, but the rate of conversion varies from time to time, situation to situation, and person to person.

          Wealth is, basically, "degree of wellness", but I'm not talking only about health. And this means that for some problems money doesn't even help you achieve wealth. Sometimes wealth is "my good friends". How much money do you think would be a fair trade for ending up castaway on an island with nobody else on it and nobody look

          • Wasn't that experiment the basis for the TV show Survivor? And the answer was- a million dollars was worth causing all your friends to leave and hate you.

        • Who the hell voted this up? No, wealth is not a fixed supply. WEALTH is most certainly created. And in the very next breath he switches to saying that MONEY is a fixed supply. First off, ha, no, there isn't a fixed supply of money. No, they print money and pour it in now and then. That a metaphorical printing (and literal, but that's chump-change), it's mostly a digital record these days. The FED genesis's money and loans it to banks. That money came FROM NOWHERE. The Fed has that power and authority.

        • This is fundamentally incorrect on many levels. First of all, the money supply affects inflation; it does not create wealth. If that were true, you could create wealth by printing money. Wealth of the kind you are talking about relates to the capital stock, which does increase over time as raw resources are converted into durable capital goods. Anyhow, it's monumentally obvious that wealth/capital can increase and decrease over time, and is not a fixed pie. Otherwise, how do you explain the fact that GDP, s

        • Wealth doesn't mean money. Wealth means things of inherent value. Money is just a bookkeeping tool for keeping track of wealth. If you create a valuable good, you've created wealth. If you increase the money supply, you just cause inflation so the (arbitrary) monetary value we attach to that good changes, but you don't create wealth.

      • The people who really fear stuff like this are the progressives who are convinced that wealth is not something that is created but just fought over. To them the pie is always the same size and if someone gets a bigger piece, that means someone else got a smaller piece. Robots will not create any wealth. They will just take it from real people, right?

        But let's just imagine your world, where everyone is aggressivly pursuing wealth. Will everyone be wealthy? The aggressive accumulation of wealth means that you want to have more wealth than others. If everyone is wealthy, everyone is also poor.

        Everyone knows that wealth does not 'trickle down', right?

        Wealth is an equation. There needs to be production and consumption. The rich and the poor will naturally settle into their respective camps. But when one group has dominion over the other, unbalance results. And no, trickle down doesn't work. I amassed a bit of lucr

      • by nasch ( 598556 )

        Robots will (and do) create wealth all right. And the wealthy are getting better and better at making sure increases in wealth go to them and only them.

      • Uh, if you make $10 in a DAY, then compared to the rest of the world outside of the United States you are a 1%er

    • My guess is more like 74%. The people paying the invoice for the robot to be delivered will be the remaining 13% employed.

  • by ErichTheRed ( 39327 ) on Tuesday September 05, 2017 @07:31PM (#55145093)

    From the summary: ""Employees need to think of themselves as replaceable in a way that propels them into action," Salemi says, "so they can focus on continuously learning and sharpening their skills."

    Learning what? Sharpening their skills for what job? My problem with people saying we should stick with the age-old advice of training for the next better job, is that they don't see that most people won't be able to get a better job. The Industrial Revolution mechanized farm work and sent farmers to factories. Improvements in manufacturing sent factory workers to clerical jobs. Office automation via IT and software killed large-scale clerical work and sent those workers to the service industry. Automation of the service industry sends these workers...nowhere. Automation of intelligence (for example, law school grads being replaced by an algorithm) sends them...nowhere, with lots of debt.

    Basically, we've come to the end of the line for the next-best-job fix. For the vast majority of people incapable of handling anything beyond a simple job, this will mean they'll be unemployed and unable to get new work at reasonable pay. And it's not just factory workers and drivers...large corporations routinely pay employees fairly decent salaries to manually execute an unchanging algorithm on a stack of work. We're either going to have to make work for people or realize that not everyone can be employed...and hopefully not resort to drastic measures to fix it.

    • by waspleg ( 316038 ) on Tuesday September 05, 2017 @07:36PM (#55145119) Journal

      If I had mod points they'd be yours.

      The goal of all of this shit should be to eliminate as much work as possible for the good of everyone but our economic system will not allow for that.

      Our technological evolution has far outpaced our societal evolution and I mean globally not just America.

      • The goal of all of this shit should be to eliminate as much work as possible for the good of everyone but our economic system will not allow for that. Our technological evolution has far outpaced our societal evolution and I mean globally not just America.

        See, that'd be just fucking great if the spoils of economic freedom permitted by robotic industry were shared by the people.

        It just seems much more likely it will exploit the accrual wealth by an infinitesimal percentage of the population.

      • The goal of all of this shit should be to eliminate as much work as possible for the good of everyone but our economic system will not allow for that.

        The goal should be to eliminate less productive work so that labor can be allocated to more productive work. What's needed is job training and mid-career education so that the pain of the transition is minimized for those caught up in it. The fact that those structures don't exist is a societal problem, not an economic one (as much as you can draw a distinction between a society and its economy, anyways).

        That falls apart if you believe that there's a subset of society that is fundamentally incapable of ma

        • by hord ( 5016115 )

          This also falls apart when you assume that everyone is capable or desirous of this ultra-efficiency driven goal-oriented framework. Most people want to wake up, eat, do something they feel is productive and fun, eat some more and go to sleep comfortably. The vast majority of people will do absolutely nothing to assist with this if it is just handed to them or if they don't feel in control of it. We need a system that addresses this fundamentally because we have huge productivity and productivity target m

          • "Most people want to wake up, eat, do something they feel is productive and fun, eat some more and go to sleep comfortably. The vast majority of people will do absolutely nothing to assist with this if it is just handed to them or if they don't feel in control of it." Agree with the first sentence, but not sure about the second sentence. Are you claiming that's what we have now, where we have to have a job and that is the thing we do to feel productive so we don't have the burden of figuring out how to spen

        • by nasch ( 598556 )

          Transition to what? We're maybe OK for the next 10 or 20 years, maybe even more. If computers start doing the jobs of engineers, doctors, programmers, lawyers, and robot technicians (and have already taken over much of transportation, warehousing, retail stocking, food service, construction, emergency services, military) what is it these millions of people are going to transition to? There's this idea that because every revolution in the past has led to more new jobs created than old jobs destroyed that i

        • by G00F ( 241765 )

          That falls apart if you believe that there's a subset of society that is fundamentally incapable of making the transition because of natural ability, talent, whatever, but I'm more optimistic about the capacity of humans to improve themselves given the opportunity to do so. OP claims by fiat that "we've come to the end of the line for the next-best-job fix" without providing a justification for why that's the case.

          What? Do you really think everyone can learn any job? I know right now, my office has a lot of idiots who take 6 months to a year to do something that takes copentent peopel less than a day. Now pull up your average/stereotypical wallmart, gas station, fast food employee who can't figure out why you are giving them 5.03 for a charge of 4.78.

          Knowing "end of the line" can only be picked in hindsight. Right now the problem is getting people to see that there exists a problem. Unemployment numbers only look not

      • The problem is not just that we don't have a society-wide system that allows for this, we don't even have a small scale system that works under these principles that we can model society after. Off the top of my head, the only "work-optional" systems I can think of are college undergrads and hereditary aristocracy, neither of which shows much promise as a good model for our social system moving forward.
      • Agreed, and I don't want to hear the old claim, "But people who don't work won't have any self-respect and won't know how to spend their time in a satisfying manner." The former is a bug we will correct, the latter is just the thing people say about all those other people they don't know.

      • Interestingly the economic system we have at present would like to give all of the benefits of the increased productivity of "robots" to the 0.01%, I suggest you figure out how to kill people and eat them if you want to survive in the next 50 years unless you change your politics from your current right wing persuasions.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      Automation of the service industry sends these workers...nowhere.

      The service industry is a pretty big place, an automatic taxi driver yes... an automatic nurse, nah. Not without 50 years of robotics and "I, robot" levels of human interaction. I also expect we'll need some kind of domain experts to work with the robots, like hiring an electrician to do the job and he tells the robot how to do the wiring. It's not like anyone has been able to make business users design sensible IT systems, why would the real world be any different? There's only so much computers can do to

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      [Prepare for replacement] Learning what? Sharpening their skills for what job?

      Learning to write bullshit about robots; it's the latest thing.

    • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )

      Automation of the service industry sends these workers...

      To YouTube.

    • The farmers couldn't imagine working in a factory, the factory workers couldn't imagine working as clerks, clerks couldn't imagine working in today's service industry and we cannot imagine where work will take people tomorrow. Our failure to imagine the future, does not mean there isn't going to be one.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    "Employees need to think of themselves as expendable in a way that propels them to accept whatever the over-classes wish for them."

  • by bobstreo ( 1320787 ) on Tuesday September 05, 2017 @07:34PM (#55145113)

    Have jobs so shitty, even robots don't want to do them.

  • The day an AI can do all the bullshit paperwork I have to deal with, is the day I gladly let an AI take my job.

    I'll go weave baskets or something for a living, at that point.

    • The day an AI can do all the bullshit paperwork I have to deal with, is the day I gladly let an AI take my job.

      I'll go weave baskets or something for a living, at that point.

      By the time a robotic replacement can do all the bullshit paperwork you have to deal with, Irona will also be making the break room coffee and weaving baskets during the time you you to waste in the bathroom and on vacation every year.

  • In other news (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Tuesday September 05, 2017 @07:44PM (#55145175)
    86% of Americans are either not paying attention or not very bright. Ok, 85% (somebody's got to oil the robots).

    Jokes aside the problem with robotic automation is that it'll chip away at the job market. It's not that your job's going away, it's your buddies. And now you're buddy is gunning for your job. For less pay. A lot less pay.
  • by epine ( 68316 ) on Tuesday September 05, 2017 @08:43PM (#55145521)

    "Always be on top of your game, she says. "If your industry is becoming more digitally focused, get schooled on specific skills. Instead of being lax about your career, always stay ahead of the curve, keep your resume in circulation, ask yourself where the industry is headed and most importantly where you and your skills fit in."

    Welcome to the 2020s, where having a job is a job.

    It always goes like this. Whatever the Chicken Littles of the world are screaming about don't exactly come to pass, but something else changes, and not for the better.

    The sordid underbelly of stagnant wages? Now you're working even harder in the margins to maintain your claim on the same dollar. This is yet another form of outsourcing to the employee, and I bet you can't even claim your office space at home devoted to all this "job upkeep" as a valid tax write-off.

    Yet you are now 20% revenue-zero independent contractor, just to keep your day job in good standing.

  • Ask him what he is going to do about robots stealing our jobs, and call on him to outlaw robots.

  • by Elfich47 ( 703900 ) on Tuesday September 05, 2017 @09:32PM (#55145761)
    Slashdot had this story a couple days ago with the new robots that can reliably sew T-shirts and have started selling the production lines for that. I expect this will kick off a wave of production consolidation in the garment industry. I expect some of it will result in factories being built in the US. Those factories will employ a handful of people to produce what had previously taken hundreds or thousands of people.

    https://hardware.slashdot.org/... [slashdot.org]
  • I'll be dead and long gone before bicycle mechanics are replaced by robots

  • by wkwilley2 ( 4278669 ) on Tuesday September 05, 2017 @10:47PM (#55145991)

    Only 13 percent of Americans are fearful that tech will eradicate their work opportunities in the near future

    And the other 87% are in denial.

  • by RhettLivingston ( 544140 ) on Tuesday September 05, 2017 @10:55PM (#55146011) Journal

    There are currently about 155 million Americans working out of 326 million Americans or about 47.5%. The survey claims one in eight "workers" fear robots may take their jobs and then goes on to say 13% of "Americans". I guess that you're not American if you're not in the 47.5% that work. They could at least say "American workers". It matters.

    Note that American total output and total employment are both at record levels. The dissatisfaction that people feel can be entirely attributed to the reduction in Americans working in manufacturing from over 20% to under 10% which, given that manufacturing output is also at its record levels, can be entirely attributed to efficiency increases that are mostly attributable to automation of one type or another.

    This is not something that could happen. It is not theoretical. It is something that is already happening. The increases in these core middle class jobs have not kept up with the losses from automation since the '70s. It is the core fact behind the divergence in incomes.

  • by BeCre8iv ( 563502 ) on Wednesday September 06, 2017 @01:13AM (#55146335)
    The robot which scans your groceries is you.
  • by omfglearntoplay ( 1163771 ) on Wednesday September 06, 2017 @07:56AM (#55147243)

    One thing to keep in mind, no matter how much money the business owners want, they'll always want humans to talk to. If you are in the US, might I remind you to put on deodorant, shower daily, have a few small talk options available at short notice, and learn to be nice to people... it might just keep you employed when the robots take over.

    Seriously though, advice from humans can be emotional... advice from AI is always cold. Business people react half rationally and half emotionally. They always need their lieutenants. And the best bosses like to chat about real life (or video game life) just as much as business... so no, I don't think robots are going to replace every job in existence.

  • 87% of American workers are stupid. News at 11.

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