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Be Ready for “Robomageddon”: Polls Reveal American Workers Have Mixed Feelings About Automation

Are you prepared for the office invasion by robots?

As most businesses adopt automated systems and robot colleagues increase in American workplaces, human workers have mixed perceptions about how these emerging technologies are likely to impact their careers. Some accept that modern technology is easing their work while others feel that their careers are at threat. Is advanced technology able to replace every worker? Do workers need to start thinking about ways of safeguarding their careers? If yes, then, how?

Going by the trends, it’s helpful that you prepare for what’s about to happen since many companies are embracing modern technology. AI is finding its way in some of the unlikely industries. For instance, mental health facilities are using artificial intelligence to help reduce employee burnout, information overload, and compassion fatigue.

Renowned insurance firms Humana and MetLife have already deployed Artificial Intelligence and robots to reduce employee burnout and teach employees how to be more empathetic. When workers aren’t fatigued, enterprises can enjoy greater employee engagement and better customer experience. Less fatigued employees will also demonstrate a higher emotional intelligence and empathy.

Thrive Global is another example of a top company that has employed technology to help realize its goals. This is after acquiring Boundless Mind, an AI firm specializing in neuroscience, in October 2019 to help them realize their core mission. Thrive Global exists to help workers and businesses exploit untapped human capabilities. The company uses technology or science-backed innovations to influence productivity behavior change and employee well-being to attain peak performance.

These are just a few examples of how technology is being used in the workplace. Every worker wondering whether they could soon be duplicated have a valid concern, going by the rate at which companies are acquiring innovative technology.


Is Your Job At Risk?

In early 2019, MindEdge/Skye Learning, an ed-tech firm, polled 1,017 U.S employees about their views on automation and utilizing robots in the job market. Based on the findings, approximately 32% of those surveyed said that their employers have acquired advanced technology for their enterprise within the previous year. This involves the use of robots like those driven by RDrive servo motor, analytics, and artificial intelligence. Among the polled workers, 76% appreciate that automating processes has eased their work. Also, many respondents didn’t feel that the entry of advanced technology had any immediate threats to their careers. Those who feel that technology may affect their jobs in 2020 were only 25% and 53 weren’t bothered at all. However, the number increased slightly when asked about technology effects in 5 years to come. 29% think that they may lose their work to technological advancements in 5 years while 47% are still not bothered at all.

Another insight learned from this survey is that some employees in America hold negative views about introducing technology at offices. For instance, 55% of those polled strongly dispute the claim that a robot can give better results at work than humans. Additionally, about 57% strongly believe that robotics and advanced technology are not good for workers in America.


Should You Safeguard Your Career?

At least, positive results are coming with automation, as 69% of people interviewed in the report above agree that the recent introduction of technology contributed to improved workplace morale. Also, 65% support the argument that automating some tasks will free up human employees allowing them to concentrate on interesting work.

Nevertheless, 44% of people working in businesses that have included technology recently lament that automation has taken over some part of their job. Surprisingly, the number of workers with tasks replaced by automation is bigger among the most educated, i.e 49% post-graduates and 61% are the people who specialize in technology.

When the polled were asked if technology might contribute to job creation, respondents were of conflicting opinions. About 41% believe automation can create more jobs while 47% don’t agree. There is a group that seemed more skeptical, however. This includes 52% of women, 54% of those working in the manufacturing sector, 55% ordinary workers and 51% of the older generation (above 39 years old).

Looking keenly at the group with a strong opinion that automation and robotics are not good for the working people in America, it’s comprised of 66% of respondents who have attained a high-school level of education only and 68% employed in the retail field. Also, the poll didn’t show any significant difference in opinion held by workers in industries that have just deployed technology and those that haven’t.

The negative perceptions show a striking disparity to the notion that technology has helped in boosting worker’s enthusiasm and making their work easier. This contrast is a sure sign that workers in America are yet to come into terms with the influence of advance technology on the job market and haven’t arrived at a definite agreement about this matter.

But based on the CEO of MindEdge Learning Jefferson Flanders, it’s important to navigate the influence of AI and robotics as this forms the foundation of today’s business operations. Notably, enterprises, workers and their leaders may require experience, which may call for some time for them to grasp. Flanders’s opinion is that the workforce in American is in the process of uncovering their exact attitudes about advanced technology in the office. But, irrespective of their current feelings, technology is relentlessly changing the U.S workplace and both workers and employers ought to prepare for it.

Whilst a great number of workers in America are still figuring out their exact feelings about emerging technology and its effects on their work, about 88% are optimistic that acquiring relevant skills is one way of getting prepared for this change.

So, will one require specific skills?

A majority of those interviewed think computer skills such as programming, web designing, and cybersecurity are essential. The rest believe the ability to think critically and creatively as well as solve complex problems will be helpful. They believe if one can join continuing education programs and gain these skills, they could be on the right path to safeguarding their careers.

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