People fear robots taking over jobs around the world

Only Japan (74%), Poland (52%) and Hungary (52%) said that robots performing human jobs would make economies more efficient.

If you worry about the robot takeover, you are not alone. In a new Pew Research Center survey of 9,670 respondents in nine countries this summer, the researchers found that in large majorities of people across the globe, people are more worried than optimistic about our robot brethren working alongside us and doing our current jobs.

Anxiety about robots taking jobs is widespread

In the nine countries of polled — the United States, Japan, Canada, Argentina, Poland, Brazil, South Africa, Italy, and Hungary — each country’s majority came to the same view that robots and computers would be doing much of the work currently done by humans in the next 50 years.

And this made populations anxious about their career prospects. More than eight in ten adults in Greece, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, and Canada said it would be harder for ordinary people to get jobs. All of the countries’ majorities recognized that the inequality between the rich and the poor would get worse than it is today when this robot takeover happens.

Robot optimists believe that robots can free up humans to do more creative, fulfilling work. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, for example, says robots can help us cure diseases and avoid accidents. But the participants in this study did not share this optimism. None of the countries’ majority populations said that this future of work would lead to new, better-paying jobs. Only Japan (74%), Poland (52%) and Hungary (52%) said that robots performing human jobs would make economies more efficient.

Who is going to prepare employees for the future of work? It is going to be up to the workers themselves, many populations believed. In the U.S, Argentina, and Brazil, more than seven in ten people said that individuals have a lot of responsibility for getting the right skills and education for this future.

Monica Torres|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at mtorres@theladders.com.