When you hail a ride through Uber, the company uses artificial intelligence (AI) to link you with the driver. When Google seems to know what you are looking for online almost before you do, that’s AI.
It is not exactly news that automation and artificial intelligence (AI) have increasingly become a part of American life in recent years. From the gas station to the grocery store to their favorite retail outlet or restaurant, consumers are increasingly finding themselves interacting with technology and less with their fellow human beings.
Some consumers resist this trend and are committed to interacting with real people at the bank or the supermarket. But that may be increasingly difficult as chatbots rule the roost and an actual customer service person may or may not be at the other end of your keyboard.
A recent survey showed workers are increasingly concerned about losing their jobs to AI. The survey, conducted by FreelanceWritingJobs.com, queried three thousand workers nationwide. It indicated that more than one in four Pennsylvanians have concerns about being terminated or their positions being eliminated due to the presence of AI.
That figure is lower than the percentage in neighboring states. In New Jersey, 41 percent of workers surveyed indicated trepidation about losing their jobs to technology. That figure rose to 50 percent in Delaware. In Maryland, it was 39 percent.
Nationwide the greatest concern about job loss came from residents of New Hampshire: 71 percent expressed concern about their jobs being eliminated due to AI.
Such concerns are not universal. Bucks County resident Tyler Skroski is a marketing executive with KBC Advisors. He sees AI as an asset, not a threat.
“We’ve been experimenting a lot with ChatGPT, and I do not feel threatened for myself or the rest of my team,” he said. “We use it as an additional resource, like many other pieces, but it’s hard to pull emotion and reader connection from it. I think AI will help in streamlining the brainstorm process in my industry (marketing commercial real estate), but not fully replace a finished product. Ideally, it should help with efficiency for us.”
Ironically, the FreelanceWritingJobs.com survey indicated the greatest concerns about job security were expressed by workers in the technology sector, where 64 percent of respondents expressed those concerns.
At the other end of the scale, workers employed in the public service sector expressed the fewest concerns about losing their jobs to AI: just 19 percent.
In between, results ranged from 59 percent in the hospitality industry to 52 percent in the legal profession, to 44 percent in both health care and education, to 43 percent in retail, to 41 percent in engineering.
The survey provided an opportunity for the respondents to take stock of the extent to which AI-related technology has impacted our lives in recent years.
Chatting with a virtual customer service assistant or making a bank deposit by phone are conveniences we take for granted. But those conveniences come with the tradeoff of fewer human jobs. And in many instances companies need fewer workers to accomplish their aims. That trend is likely to continue.