Most Prefer to Lose Their Job to a Robot over a Human

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Robots are coming to take most of our human jobs. Although the predictions differ on when exactly this reality will happen, it is almost certain that artificial intelligence might be doing up to 50% of all jobs being done currently by humans in about 20 years.

It may sound depressing (if you are a human), but how badly do we feel about that? A surprising study discovered that most people prefer a robot over a human taking over their job.

A team of psychologists from the Technical University of Munich in Germany led by Armin Granulo found that the odds are you would probably prefer not to lose your job. But if your job had to go, handing it over to a robot would be less disappointing.

Granulo said to New Scientist, “People being replaced by modern-day tech vs. being replaced by people have different psychological effects.”

Another interesting finding of the study showed that humans would rather have a person over a robot to take over a colleague’s job. For example, of the 300 volunteers asked, 62% of them would prefer a person to take over the position of a staff member who is leaving.

When those same volunteers were asked if their job would be replaced, 37% preferred a human take over their job. This means 63% of people voted to have robots take their jobs.

The follow-up study of 250 volunteers had the researchers asking how a robot or human staff was swapping strong negative emotions such as sadness or anger with colleagues. The volunteers were angrier when thinking of other people being replaced by robots over if it was their job.

People typically think of robots as being not too threatening to their identities. However, it is much worse for a person’s self-esteem if another person takes over their job as it means you are less valuable. According to Granulo, a robot is not the same type of competition.

We most likely have come to assume robots will eventually be better at everything. After all, people are creating them to work for us.

In a different survey, Granulo’s research team asked 295 people working in manufacturing their thoughts about the future of their work. Over a third of them think they will be replaced by tech very soon and still prefer it would be a robot rather than a human doing it.

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