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One out of 5 college-educated workers say they're worried about losing their jobs to tech — a big increase over 2021's poll

illustration of robot pulling chair away from office worker
Workers have become increasingly concerned that technology may take their jobs, a new Gallup poll suggests.
  • 22% of US workers say they worry technology will replace their jobs — an increase from 2021, Gallup says.
  • Workers with concerns tend to be young, college-educated, and make under $100k a year.
  • The growing fear comes as AI tools like ChatGPT can now perform job tasks like writing and coding.

Some American workers are becoming increasingly worried that technology may be coming for their jobs, a new poll suggests.

In August, Gallup conducted 1,014 phone interviews with US workers over the age of 18 across different levels of employment to understand the concerns they have about their jobs.

Out of the 1,014 workers interviewed, 22% of them say they worry technology will make their jobs obsolete — a fear that went up seven percentage points from when the survey was conducted in 2021, Gallup's researchers found.

And when considering just college-educated workers, the rise in worry is even sharper: from 8% who were worried in 2021 to a whopping 20% who are worried today, the poll says.

The fact that more college-educated workers are worried about losing their jobs to technology may, in part, be thanks to the rise of powerful artificial intelligence tools like OpenAI's ChatGPT — the conversational AI-chatbot that can perform job tasks like writing marketing copy and developing code. The rapid development of generative AI technology, the Gallup researchers say, "may be changing the stereotype of what computers can do in the workplace."

"Amid such change, it's understandable that US workers, particularly those with college degrees, are more worried about what technology could mean for their careers," the Gallup researchers said in commentary accompanying the poll.

But it's not just employees with bachelor's degrees who feel this way.

Younger workers of all education levels between the ages of 18 to 34 were also found to be more concerned with losing their jobs to technology compared to older workers over the age of 35 within the poll's two-year time frame. The same goes for workers who earn less than $100,000 a year compared to those with an annual salary of $100,000 or more.

Even though more workers may now "be looking over their shoulders" at AI and other technological developments, replacement by robots is not their main employment concern.

The survey incicated 31% of respondents worry they could lose their benefits, like healthcare and paid vacation days, in the future, and 24% of respondents say they're scared about seeing a reduction in their wages, followed by layoffs and a cut in operating hours for businesses.

Gallup's findings on worker attitudes toward technology come as experts and tech leaders alike have reignited a debate around whether AI can really replace employees ever since ChatGPT came out last November.

While a Goldman Sachs study from March found that generative AI tools could affect 300 million full-time jobs worldwide, some experts previously told Insider that AI will simply help workers save time and be more productive.

There are signs that AI may already be taking over some of the workforce. A recent report from Challenger, Gray, and Christmas, a career transitioning firm, found that almost 4,000 people who were laid off in May lost their jobs because of AI.

Emily Hanley, a freelance copywriter, said that the number of assignments she usually gets may have dwindled because clients are turning to ChatGPT to do their writing for free. Matías S. Zavia, a writer and translator, said he was laid off from his job at Gizmodo en Español, the tech blog's Spanish site, after his former employer started using AI to translate the site's articles from English to Spanish.

Suumit Shah, the CEO of the e-commerce platform Dukaan, even said he laid off 90% of his support staff in July because he replaced them with an AI chatbot, a move he claimed reduced his company's customer support costs by 85%.

Researchers at Gallup didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment before publication.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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