Why using robots at work is not safe

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The figure is striking to say the least. According to a survey conducted by Botnation in 2021, 78% of French people fear seeing their job replaced by an AI or a robot. This is the case for 45% of professionals and 56% of consumers who fear losing their job completely. They are 27 and 29% to be “a little afraid” that these machines will replace them.

Are the fears of employees totally unfounded?

This phobia of machines was precisely the subject of a study carried out by researchers from the American Psychological Association. The idea was to see if working with robots could contribute to mental health issues. The answer is clearly yes, since they were able to observe that this tends to reinforce burnout, the level of insecurity, and the incivility of employees in their workplace.

To see more clearly, scientists investigated in the United States and Asia. In India, the employees of a car manufacturer who worked with industrial robots were much more concerned by the risks of burnout.

In Singapore, 343 parents of students were divided into three groups. The first read an article about the use of robots in business. A second read an article that dealt with robots in general, while the last read an unrelated article. The finding is again very clear: the first group expressed real insecurity for their job compared to the other participants.

So how can these fears be explained? Quoted by our colleagues on the site Unite.aiKai Chi Yam, principal investigator of this study, explained: Some economists have theorized that robots are more likely to take blue-collar jobs faster than white-collar jobs. However, it doesn’t seem like robots are taking over that many jobs yet, at least not in the US, so a lot of these fears are pretty subjective. »

And yet, he believes that it is the media that have a share of the responsibility in this case: “ News stories about new technologies such as robots and algorithms tend to be apocalyptic in nature, so people can develop an irrational fear of them “.

Finally, it should also be noted that the fears of employees are not totally unfounded. Moreover, there are already some professions that have been purely and simply replaced by artificial intelligence and machines, and automation has been a phenomenon at work for decades.

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