As robotics and advanced automation continue to spread throughout the American workplace, workers express conflicting and sometimes flatly contradictory attitudes about the impact these new technologies will have on their lives–but most believe that gaining relevant industry skills through continuous learning is a useful strategy for “future-proofing” their careers.
According to the third annual national study from edtech firm MindEdge/Skye Learning, nearly one-third (32 percent) of American employees report that advanced technology–including robot workers, AI, and analytics–has been introduced into their workplaces in the past year. Of these employees, over three-quarters (76 percent) feel the new automation has made their jobs easier.
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Survey respondents do not feel immediately threatened by the arrival of advanced technology: only 25 percent of workers say they are concerned about being replaced by these technologies in 2020, while fully 53 percent say they are not at all concerned. Nor does the level of concern increase significantly when the timeline is moved out: only 29 percent say they are concerned about losing their jobs to technology in the next five years, while almost half (47 percent) say they are not at all concerned.
At the same time, workers also express some clearly negative attitudes about technology in the workplace. A clear majority (55 percent) disagrees with the assertion that robots are better workers than humans. And an even stronger majority (57 percent) agrees that “robots and advanced automation are bad for American workers.”