Most workers think robots could not do their jobs

Despite regular warnings about the potentially massive displacement of jobs as a result of the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ of automation and artificial intelligence, a new, large scale survey of workers around the world suggests that a significant majority of them do not think the technology puts their own role in any kind of danger. The new report from SAP was presented this week at the World Economic Forum Annual Summit in Davos.

It suggests that most people are optimistic or blasé about the impact of new technology. Most think that there are major parts of their roles that cannot be automated. Around four in five respondents believe that only a human could perform most or all of the tasks associated with their job.

Overall, people in Europe and Central Asia display the most confidence in their ability to do their jobs wholly or in large part better than technology while nearly a third (30 percent) of respondents in South Asia were concerned they might be entirely replaceable, with another fifth (19 percent) believing most of their role could be automated.

The report is based on data from just over 10,000 interviews conducted in 29 countries that covered topics such as the looming threat of automation, economic development, international collaborations, the activity of large technology companies and how jobs might change in the future.