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Workers in These Countries Believe AI and Robots Will Replace Them

A Chinese woman works amid orange robot arms at Rapoo Technology factory in southern Chinese industrial boomtown of Shenzhen.

A Chinese woman works amid orange robot arms at Rapoo Technology factory in southern Chinese industrial boomtown of Shenzhen. // Vincent Yu/AP

Chinese workers have seen the future, and it involves artificial intelligence, robots and other forms of automation replacing them, at least for repetitive tasks. That’s how workers responded to interviews about the future of work conducted in 13 countries by the ADP Research Institute, part of the payroll systems company ADP.

In contrast to China, a minority of workers in Germany think machines will take over repetitive tasks in the future. Workers in Chile, Singapore, the United Kingdom and France among other countries agree. But American workers and those in India are inclined to see things the Chinese way; nearly two-thirds of those polled said they thought the machines were coming for repetitive work.

The impact of robots and artificial intelligence on the workplace is well-documented. These technologies are likely to impact everyone in the coming years, from factory-floor workers to doctors and lawyers.

Millennials and employees who aren’t managers were the most concerned about rising automation, according to the report. Senior workers were more optimistic about a tech-enabled future, perhaps because they are closer to retirement, and occupy positions with more power and control, the report said.

Still, the majority of workers polled, or 55 percent, said they felt good about robots and AI taking on more repetitive tasks.

“Employees may seek to partner with smart machines, relying on technology to help govern and maintain individuals and teams. In this type of future workplace, people will be free to focus more on work, as opposed to managing others or being managed,” Annabel Jones, the human resources director at ADP UK, told Quartz.

By Joon Ian Wong Quartz March 20, 2016

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