Posted on June 11, 2018 by staff

Two thirds of Brits fear machines will take jobs


New research has found that most people in the UK are worried about tech taking away jobs from people and this causing an economic crisis in the country.

The Impact of AI – a survey by global intelligence platform Streetbees – found that two in three British adults (67 per cent) are worried by machines carrying out jobs currently performed by people, while 61 per cent think this will cause an economic crisis.

65 per cent also believe there should be rules in place to prevent companies replacing their staff with machines, with only 15 per cent disagreeing.

However, British people were also optimistic about the prospect of tech improving our quality of life. 66 per cent agreed that intelligent machines and AI will make their lives easier in the future, with only 11 per cent disagreeing.

The report comes at the start of London Technology Week, the flagship festival for the London tech sector.

“Technology is disrupting the economy and society from top to bottom, and our research shows that people in the UK recognise its potential to completely change how we live and work,” said Streetbees CEO and co-founder Tugce Bulut.

“Clearly, many British people aren’t sure what technological progress means – not just when it comes to their own jobs and futures but also for the country as a whole.”

For the global survey Streetbees heard from over 3,400 people worldwide, including over 800 people in the UK.

Tabitha Goldstaub, co-founder of CognitionX, said: “There’s nothing more important than understanding the consumer when building an AI product.

“Firms need to bring the general public with them, to ensure we trust what’s being built and truly welcome the innovation.

“Streetbees’ survey of consumer concerns about the future of technology is a really helpful reference point, especially for big corporates, to ensure AI deployment genuinely reflects what ordinary people think and want.”

The survey also found that one in four Brits believes a machine could now do their job and, when asked why they wouldn’t be able to, respondents were most likely to say that their job needs a human touch, followed by the response machines aren’t flexible enough to do their job.

According to the survey, industries most at risk of job losses because of AI and machines are manufacturing (53 per cent), finance (43 per cent) and IT (28 per cent).

When asked what jobs machines will do better than humans in the next 20 years, Brits were most likely to say data processing (74 per cent), data collection (70 per cent) and manufacturing (55 per cent).

Just over 35 per cent agreed with the statement ‘I worry that robots will get too smart and take over the world’ and the survey also found that people in accelerating, emerging economies are more concerned by how technology will impact their working lives than their counterparts in the West.