Survey: More than half of Americans fear a ‘major impact’ of AI on workers

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More respondents said that AI will “hurt” American workers more than it will “help” them in the next 20 years.

Nearly two-thirds (62%) of Americans believe that the implementation of artificial intelligence in the workplace will have a “major impact” on American workers in the next 20 years, leaving many employees “suspecting” and worried” about what the future holds.

According to an April 20 Pew Research report, 56% of 11,004 US adults surveyed said AI will also have a major impact on the US economy. Another 22% believe that AI will have a minor impact on the economy.

Only 13% of respondents believed that “AI will help more than hurt” American workers, while 32% thought otherwise. The rest of the participants either predicted that “AI will help and hurt equally” American workers (32%) or were not sure (22%).

The study did not directly ask participants if they believed they would lose their jobs to AI, but many respondents mentioned concerns that an AI-enabled workplace would lead to increased surveillance, mismanagement of data and misinterpretations.

Pew Research said there is a “consensus” that many US workers feel they would be “Big Brother”-style police, with 81% citing this concern.

The majority of respondents (71%) said they are opposed to the idea of ​​AI being used to help make a final decision in the hiring process.

Nearly two-thirds said they would be most annoyed by the AI ​​tracking their movements on a minute-by-minute basis, and around half cited potential frustrations around an AI keeping track of how many hours they are at their table and recording exactly when. they are working.

Just under 40% are concerned that AI is being used to assess their performance.

Despite mixed views on what AI could offer the workforce, two-thirds of respondents said they would not want to apply for a job that uses AI to make hiring decisions.

One respondent in his 60s explained that AI should not be used for this purpose because it cannot judge character:

“AI can’t take into account the intangible, unquantifiable factors that make someone a good or bad coworker. Personality traits like patience, compassion, and kindness would be overlooked or undervalued.”

“It’s a ‘garbage in, garbage out’ problem,” another respondent explained.

However, not everyone agrees, as a man in his 50s explained that AI has the potential to take the place of a hiring manager:

“I think the AI ​​would be able to assess all of my skills and experience as a whole, whereas a human would just focus on what the job requires. The AI ​​would see beyond the present and see my potential over time.”

Just under half of respondents said AI would treat all applicants the same “better” than hiring managers do, while 15% said AI would be “worse”. Less than 15% said the deal would be “more or less the same.”

Respondents who claimed that AI would lead to “better” treatment explained that the technology would help circumvent bias and discrimination based on age, gender, and race.

Others believed that AI could reinforce the very prejudices that companies are trying to eradicate.

The motivation to carry out the study stemmed in part from what Pew Research describes as the “rapid rise of ChatGPT,” an AI chatbot launched by OpenAI on November 30.