More than half (60 per cent) of the UK population are concerned that jobs will be replaced by artificial intelligence in the future, according to a new study into consumer attitudes by Kaspersky. Many of the study’s respondents also admit they are worried about future careers, believing children will grow up with fewer job opportunities due to AI.

Futuristic predictions from classic science-fiction once seemed too fanciful to become reality, but with the forecast that the use of robotics in UK businesses is only set to rise, consumers are now becoming more insecure about their own job security. And in addition to worrying about their own roles being taken over by robots, they also have strong concerns about their loved ones’ career prospects.
In fact, almost half (49 per cent) of adults surveyed agree that today’s children will find it hard to get a job in adulthood because of AI technology. Four-in-ten (39 per cent) of respondents are concerned AI technology will outsmart mankind by 2045.

Consumers are also wary of the overall influence AI may have on industries, with two-thirds (66 per cent) agreeing today’s children will be doing different roles in the future because of AI technology. Furthermore, more than a quarter of UK adults (26 per cent) agree AI-enabled smart devices will increasingly be used as part of their job. This rises to 38 per cent amongst 18 to 24-year-olds and 46 per cent of aged between 25 and 34 – showing that two younger demographics, who may already be more well-versed in using AI services than older generations, expect to use the technology in the workplace.

“While beneficial for businesses, the introduction of new technology can understandably cause concern amongst workers,” David Emm, principal security researcher at Kaspersky, said. “People are adjusting to the constant evolution of solutions and machines that can improve workplaces and how their roles may change. Given the current IT skills gap, those either starting or hoping to change their careers can help future-proof their job prospects by exploring roles in digital industries, such as cybersecurity.

“The key thing for consumers to remember is that AI technology is being developed in order to help, not hinder, their current jobs and career progression. AI and robotics allow for enhanced business efficiencies, without decreasing the value of human workforces. Machines simply cannot replace the human intuition and expertise that make a company truly successful.”

However, the story is not all doom and gloom, with many consumers more optimistic about the role of AI and robotics in business. For instance, almost half (48 per cent) of respondents agree that AI technology will help productivity across many different sectors. Additionally, nearly half (49 per cent) believe AI robots will be able to do more mundane jobs and allow humans to free up time to upskill or improve society. Four-in-10 respondents (43 per cent) even think AI technology will create new future roles – climbing to 52 per cent amongst millennials.