More workers are worried technology will make them obsolete – The Business Journals

More than one-fifth of U.S. workers fear that technology will make their jobs obsolete, according to a new Gallup poll.
About 22% of workers worry they will be rendered obsolete, according to the data, a jump from 17% who worried about that in 2021. The increase comes entirely from the number of college-educated workers who are worried about becoming obsolete, as that number grew to 20% from 8%, while workers without a college degree were unchanged at 24%.
Younger workers were more likely to worry about technology taking their jobs. The affected percentage among workers under age 34 increased to 28% from 17% in 2021.
The percentage of workers making less than $100,000 a year also saw an increase, with 27% now worried about technology making them obsolete, up from 17%.
Ultimately, the worries stem from the advancement of generative AI to produce work that pushes into the white-collar space, as opposed to the slow march of automation among manufacturing and other blue-collar jobs.
“Developments in computers’ ability to mimic human language, recently made clear with the release of ChatGPT last November, may be changing the stereotype of what computers can do in the workplace,” said Lydia Saad, director of U.S. social research at Gallup, in a blog post. “It is no longer only about robots standing in for humans in warehouses and on assembly lines but has expanded to online programs conducting sophisticated language-based work, including writing computer code.”
Overall, while 65% of Americans surveyed in a new Axios-Morning Consult poll said they were enthusiastic or somewhat enthusiastic about new technology, just 41% said the same thing about artificial intelligence.
About 62% of those surveyed said they have not used a chatbot such as Open AI’s ChatGPT, although 50% said they were at least somewhat familiar with its capabilities. About 66% said they were concerned or somewhat concerned about the development of artificial intelligence.
It’s probably not a surprise that workers are not comforted by the advent of AI tools. About 47% of business leaders are considering using AI tools such as ChatGPT instead of hiring new workers, according to a survey by tech news and product review outlet
A separate survey of 2,000 Americans by HigherVisibility found about 49% of respondents were worried about the future of their work because of AI, with 30% agreeing that AI should not be allowed to be used by companies to replace jobs or to solely increase revenue.
About 66% of managers say they would gladly replace employees with AI tools if the work were comparable, according to a survey by of 3,000 Americans in management positions. Another survey of 1,000 U.S. business leaders by found about 25% of companies said ChatGPT has already saved them at least $75,000.
Some companies are already cutting jobs because of the growing use of AI-related tools, according to a report by business and executive coaching firm Challenger Gray & Christmas Inc. So far this year, companies have laid off at least 3,900 people due to the new technology, with all of them in the tech industry, the company reported in a blog post. 
An April report from Goldman Sachs found the new wave of AI tools could expose about 300 million full-time jobs globally to automation over the coming years — depending on how advanced the tools become. 
But worries about generative AI causing mass layoffs or widespread displacement are overblown, said Jason Greer, a labor relations consultant who has served as a board agent for the National Labor Relations Board and consulted for Fortune 500 companies.
The current technology around generative AI does not signify true artificial intelligence, as these systems don’t think, Greer said.
“If you look at the research, they have been talking about artificial intelligence replacing the workforce since the 1960s,” Greer said. “We are not looking at terminator robots; we are looking at learning programs.”
He said while some jobs might end up being “outsourced” to artificial intelligence, the raft of articles and worries about lawyers or doctors or expertise-based professions losing out any time soon don’t property reflect the current state of the market.
“The idea that attorneys are going to become irrelevant or that all of these jobs are going to be replaced — I think that’s premature at best,” Greer said. “I don’t care who you are: If I get into legal trouble, there is no way I am turning to ChatGPT. I am going to an attorney.”
While some studies have shown benefits to productivity from AI, experts warn about potential litigation and an ongoing issue with “hallucinations” that sometimes lead to the generative AI tool giving incorrect answers. Meanwhile, some larger companies such as Samsung have prohibited their employees from using ChatGPT at work, part of an ongoing backlash to ChatGPT developer OpenAI and other AI tools and companies.
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