Home » Few expect AI to create many more jobs than it loses, and most support government action to prevent job losses

Few expect AI to create many more jobs than it loses, and most support government action to prevent job losses

by Tech Reporter
26th Jul 23 10:43 am

New polling from Ipsos shows that only 1 in 8 (12%) think AI will create far more new job opportunities than the jobs that are lost; over half (55%) disagree.

To mitigate this, 2 in 3 (64%) agree the government should create new regulations or laws to prevent the potential loss of jobs due to AI, with just 14% disagreeing. Despite concerns about loss of jobs without government intervention, nearly half (46%) agree that businesses should embrace AI in the workplace if it saves time and resources – a view more common amongst university graduates (60%) compared to non-graduates (46%).

When presented with a list of sectors and asked which, if any, they thought would be most likely to see reduced work opportunities due to AI within the next 2-3 years, more than half selected customer service sectors (61%) and manufacturing (55%).

By contrast, the least commonly selected sectors included the care sector (4%), healthcare (10%), teaching (13%), and professional services (14%).

Thinking about how they expect improvement in AI to impact their own jobs, half of UK adults currently in work (50%) anticipate their job being affected in some capacity within the next 12 months, rising to 2 in 3 (64%) who expect to be impacted within the next 5 years (mainly through AI helping them to do some aspects of their job, but leaving their main work activities unaffected).

By contrast, 4 in 10 (43%) expect AI to have no impact on their job within the same period, a share that falls to 26% when looking ahead to 5 years from now. In each time frame, graduates are much more likely than non-graduates to anticipate changes to their job – though low numbers in either group expect their jobs to cease to exist altogether.

1 in 5 (22%) in work have used an AI chatbot for work since April

Among those in work, 1 in 5 (22%) say they’ve used an AI chatbot (such as ChatGPT, Jasper, or Bard) to support their work or business since the start of April, with a further 17% saying they’ve used an AI chatbot for a non-work purpose. Graduates (27%) are more likely than non-graduates (18%) to have used the tool in a work capacity. The most common way AI chatbots have been used in a work capacity is to polish or amend content someone has written, selected by 25% of those who have used an AI chatbot for work. The least common task was analysing datasets (12%).

Trinh Tu, Managing Director of Public Affairs at Ipsos, said, “Generative AI has great potential to impact UK workplaces, but at the moment public attitudes towards AI are still feeling their way.

“While only a small minority expect their jobs to be made redundant due to AI, there is scepticism that it will lead to a big net increase in job opportunities, and most would welcome regulation or laws from the government to prevent potential job losses. At the moment, use of AI chatbots for work is not unusual but still a minority, and broadly workers see it helping them to do their job rather than leading to substantial change, but expectations are that it will grow in the future.

“Even so, British businesses should be encouraged by the public’s pragmatic openness to adopting the new technology, provided it allows for measurable benefits to how businesses can operate.”

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