Workers worry about the rise of AI in the workplace

Workers are worried about losing their jobs to artificial intelligence (AI), according to a report from online learning platform Udemy.

A survey of over 1,000 full-time office employees in the US found that more than half feel more stressed now than they did a year ago, and two-thirds of millennials said they are stressed at work most or all of the time.

In addition to factors outside the workplace, like personal finances, family responsibilities and lack of sleep, the workers cited office-related stressors such as having a bad manager, the pressure to keep up with changing job requirements, and how quickly required skills are changing.

But the number one stress trigger inside work was the fear of losing jobs to artificial intelligence or new technology, cited by 43% of those surveyed.

AI will perform better than humans in some jobs faster than others, according to a separate study by researchers from the Future of Humanity Institute at the University of Oxford.

Academics and industry experts surveyed by Katja Grace and colleagues predicted that AI will outperform humans in the next 10 years in tasks such as translating languages (by 2024) and driving trucks (by 2027).

However, other tasks will take longer for machines to master. For instance, AI won’t be better than humans at working in retail until 2031, or writing a bestselling book until 2049. AI will be capable of working as a surgeon by 2053, the experts said.

In the meantime, equipping workers with new skills can help reduce stress in the workplace, Udemy says.

In fact many employees are taking matters into their own hands, with 42% saying they have invested their own money in professional development. Meanwhile, 58% have taken advantage of company-provided training and professional development programmes.

“Employees are getting in the driver’s seat of their training and careers to combat stress and find professional success,” said Darren Shimkus, Vice President and General Manager for Udemy for Business. “Businesses have a significant opportunity to not only help reduce workplace stress but also improve productivity and business outcomes by adopting an employee-driven approach to learning and professional development.”


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