Nearly two-thirds of Americans expect humans to struggle to find work in a future of robots, all humans except themselves, that is — they are not worried about losing their own jobs to automation, according to a study released today by Pew Research.
The study confirms prior research that, despite the knowledge that a powerful new technological force is gathering momentum, most Americans remain unworried about their own well-being, leaving themselves potentially vulnerable to personal financial crisis. "For many people, this isn't real until it actually happens to them," Pew's Aaron Smith, who led the project, told my colleague Stef Kight.
- What they have yet to recognize, Smith said, is that "it's not just something that's going to happen to fast food workers and insurance clerks," but to people just like themselves.
The bottom line: Numerous experts challenge such pessimism — the economy, they say, will produce new professions that we cannot currently imagine. But there is very little dispute that a lot of jobs will vanish, cutting across industries. The unknowns include how long it will take for these new jobs to materialize, and who will get them — will it include most of those whose jobs are eliminated?
Be smart: In a study last month, Bloomberg Beta, a venture capital firm, found that just 12% of Americans worry about their own job being wiped out. But should dislocation occur on the scale some forecasters project, experts fear social chaos. "Some people will be taken by surprise, and nothing leads to instability more than frustrated expectations," Bloomberg Beta's Roy Bahat told Axios.
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