75% of American parents believe robots will take their kids’ jobs

The robot takeover is on the horizon and we’re not prepared to face it. Two-thirds of U.S. adults believe that robots will be doing our jobs in the next 50 years, but in an interesting twist of hubris, 80% of those adults also think that their own personal jobs at least are safe in the upcoming robot purge. So today’s adults are aware of the danger but think they will be passed over.

But what does America’s future think about automation?

3 in 4 parents ‘concerned’ about child’s future with automated world

If you believe that children are our future, these future leaders are less optimistic about their fates.

This past June and July, ORC International conducted a survey of over a 1,000 parents of school-aged children and teenagers for Junior Achievement USA about what they thought about robots and the global economy.

Parents are overwhelmingly worried. Around 77% of parents said they were “concerned” about their child’s ability to have a successful job when they grew up because of global competition and automation. The teenagers who would be facing this future felt the same and 77% of them also said they were “concerned” about automation hampering their job prospects.

Junior Achievement thinks that the solution to this anxiety is more school.

“Many of the entry-level jobs we know today won’t be around in the next decade, and many of the jobs of tomorrow haven’t even been conceived of yet,” Jack Kosakowski, CEO of Junior Achievement USA, said. “It’s important we encourage our young people to explore post-secondary education, whether that be a university, community college, or a technical or trade school. Having some level of technical training is going to be critical for future career success.”

It doesn’t take a particularly sophisticated robot to replace you

Education and degrees may help some of us avoid an artificially-intelligent takeover, but automation is a global problem. It turns out nobody’s safe. In an open letter to the United Nations, top business leaders, including Tesla’s Elon Musk, sounded the alarm on killer robots that would cause “the third revolution in warfare.” And as computational science researcher Taha Yesseri noted, it doesn’t take a sophisticated killer robot to cause alarm. The dumb ones should worry us too.

“The bigger the system becomes and the more autonomous each bot is, the more complex and hence unpredictable the future behavior of the system will be,” Yesseri said about simple Wikipedia bots. Those unpredictable rogue Wikipedia bots are just causing problems with editing content online.

But Yesseri uses them as an example of what’s to come self-driving cars and killer robots.

“In a future system with a large number of very sophisticated robots, the unexpected behavior could go beyond our imagination,” he said. The individual concern for parents, kids, and researchers is that they could take our jobs and render us useless. But a larger concern for us all is that bots’ autonomous unpredictable nature could prove lethal.