Saturday Nov 12 2022
Web Desk

'Greatly exaggerated': No, robots are not taking all jobs in the world

Web Desk
Black and white robot working.— Unsplash
Black and white robot working.— Unsplash

Researchers from Brigham Young University are busting the common myth that robots will take over the entire job market, with hirers saving money and getting work done via machines instead of paying multiple humans to do the same tasks. 

Scientists believe that these are rumours that are "greatly exaggerated" and that humanity has not been defeated by automation.

Eric Dahlin, who is a sociology professor at BYU, said that it was not entirely untrue that robots are robbing humans of some jobs but the pace was much lower than what people assume. Researchers added that people tend to exaggerate the speed and intensity of a robot takeover.

The authors who published in the journal Socius Sociological Research for a Dynamic World found that out of those who participated in their study, only 14% had lost their jobs to a robot. That 14% of the people also overestimated the prevalence of robots taking over by nearly three times.

The study authors surveyed almost 2,000 people for the project. They asked respondents about their perceptions of jobs being replaced by robots and machines. 

Respondents had to guess the percentage of people who had by now lost their job to a robot. The team also asked about peoples' own experiences and if they had even been replaced by a robot.

The 14% estimated that 47% of all jobs in the world had become automated. Their own experiences had made them exaggerate the situation. Even those who had never been replaced overestimated and guessed that about 29% of jobs had been stolen.

“Overall, our perceptions of robots taking over is greatly exaggerated,” Prof Dahlin said in a university release. 

“Those who hadn’t lost jobs overestimated by about double, and those who had lost jobs overestimated by about three times.”

Interestingly, the authors said that the fears of automation were not new and dated back centuries. They theorised that sensational headlines in the past few years created a false image and misperceptions in people's minds. Dahlin added that the fears had been keeping people up since the early 1,800s.

“We expect novel technologies to be adopted without considering all of the relevant contextual impediments such as cultural, economic, and governance arrangements that support the manufacturing, sale, and use of the technology,” he explained. 

“But just because a technology can be used for something does not mean that it will be implemented.”