Not Many Americans Want to Work With Non-Humans
Thu, April 22, 2021

Not Many Americans Want to Work With Non-Humans

87% of the respondents said they were more willing to take orders from a human boss / Photo Credit: pathdoc (via Shutterstock)


Business process outsourcing provider Sykes published a report titled "Americans’ Perceptions of the Future of Work" to debunk people’s fears of being replaced by robots at work, according to Esther Shein of TechRepublic, an online trade publication. Over 1,500 Americans were surveyed across the US and the report found that more than two-thirds (63%) “had a positive connotation with intelligent, automation-based technology.” But demographics also play a role in their perception of robots in the workplace, said Tara Chklovski, founder and CEO of Technovation, a global technology education nonprofit aimed at empowering girls in low-income communities. 

Technovation also conducted its own survey in 2018. The company surveyed 1,566 low-income families to find out about their fears and how they feel about AI. Chklovski stated, “What we found was 80% of low-income families were very scared AI would replace their jobs, and they were very afraid their value system was being compromised.” For the respondents, AI was taking away a core work ethic and they felt that their hard work was being undermined by AI. They also stated their fears about jobs in manufacturing going away. On the other hand, 40% of respondents in Technovation’s survey said they realize AI was coming and saw it as an avenue to connect with their children and grandchildren who are adopting or will be adopting AI-powered technologies. 

Going back to the Sykes survey, no respondents knew anyone who lost their job as a result of implementing automation technologies. Almost 61% admitted that the company they work for had not made any discussions about the potential impact of automation technologies. Interestingly, 87% said they were more willing to take orders from a human boss over a software program (13%). This sentiment was shared across all age groups and geographic regions in the survey. Another finding was that slightly over 21% of respondents said their employers conducted a discussion about the impact of automation technologies at work. 

“There's ample opportunity for further education about how automation will impact the future of how we work—in any field—and for regular, deliberate upskilling,” Sykes' Chief Strategy Officer Ian Barkin.