Robots Stealing Human Jobs, Many Humans Weirdly OK With It
The robot workers' revolution is coming. They've learned how to wire cars and how to open doors. And even when we're not obviously teaching them how to become thieves, companies are looking for ways to upload their workforce into the cloud. And it turns out that most people aren't all that upset if some thing takes their jobs, just as long as it means there isn't someone coming over here and taking them instead.
A recent study by the Technical University of Munich in Germany asked a group of 300 meatbags if they'd prefer to see their co-workers be replaced by automatons or other people. Unsurprisingly, a majority wanted to keep the job as human as possible, with 62% wishing to share a cubicle with a hunk instead of a hunk of metal. But when the question was flipped to their own jobs, so did their answers. Suddenly, only 37% of subjects wished they'd be replaced by another human. This unexpected robophilia didn't even shift when the researchers asked the same question to 251 workers in the manufacturing industry, who know for certain their jobs will soon go to someone with a serial number instead of a first name. They also hailed their robo-replacers.
According to co-author Armin Granulo, that might have something to do with self-esteem. In a follow-up, Granulo and his human colleagues discovered that their subjects were much more emotional when it came to losing own job than imagining it happening to others, and they expressed the strongest negative emotions of all when being replaced by another person, because it makes them doubt their self-worth and societal value. Because despite automation being the biggest threat to most working-class people's careers, it turns out most of them seems to feel much more comfortable with the rise of the machines than the rise of Alonzo, the guy who does their job better and for less money, because it means they don't have to take a hit to the ego.
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