A NEW survey commissioned by Lero, the Irish Software Research Centre, which is headquartered at the University of Limerick, has found that 39 per cent of Irish adults are worried about robots or artificial intelligence (AI) replacing their jobs.
And that rises to 49 per cent among adults aged between 18 and 34, the survey of 1,038 adults conducted for Lero by RED C Research discovered.
Of those worried about their jobs being taken over, 11 per cent believe that this will occur within the next five years. Twenty-five per cent expect it to happen within the next six to ten years. One in three anticipate that the robotic arm on the shoulder will occur within the next 11 to 15 years.
“This is not an unfounded fear,” commented Lero director Professor Brian Fitzgerald.
“People are not stupid and have observed how artificial intelligence and machines have replaced bank staff and supermarket checkout operators.
“However, technology will create new jobs.”
Professor Fitzgerald referenced a recent survey by KPMG, which found that 96 per cent of Irish CEOs believe that Artificial Intelligence will create more jobs than it destroys.
“However, the big challenge for Irish education is to prepare our young people to develop the skills and retrain existing workers for jobs of the future. This is particularly challenging as in many cases we don’t know today what these jobs will be.”
While many have concerns over robots taking over their jobs, the Lero study established that people are divided on whether robotics will safely replace drivers over the next 15 years. 37 per cent believe that self-driving cars will be safer but 39 per cent are convinced that software-controlled vehicles will be less safe.
Home working is likely to increase because of the high cost of housing, especially in the main cities and resulting in long commutes.
The Lero report found that just over a quarter of the population work from home at least occasionally. This rises to 38 per cent among those aged 25 to 34.