Study finds workers would rather be replaced by a robot than another person

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A trio of researchers with the Technical University of Munich and Erasmus University Rotterdam has found evidence that suggests workers would rather be replaced by a robot rather than another human being. In their paper published in the journal Nature Human Behavior, Armin Granulo, Christoph Fuchs and Stefano Puntoni describe responses from several groups of people regarding job security, and what they found.

In the modern era, robots have been taking the place of human workers because they are seen as a cheaper and more reliable source of labor. Many sociologists and roboticists have predicted this trend will continue, resulting in mass displacement of workers over the next several decades. In this new effort, the researchers sought to better understand how people feel about the possibility of being replaced.

In the first study, the researchers asked 300 people if they would rather see a colleague replaced by a human or a —62 percent of respondents chose the human. The researchers also asked the same group how they would feel if it was their own job at stake—this time, only 37 percent chose the human option.

In a second study, the researchers asked 251 people to rate how much negativity they felt about losing a job to a robot versus to another person. They report that respondents generally showed more negativity toward robots replacing colleagues' jobs than if they were losing their own. The people in this group expressed that they felt less threatened by the thought of losing a job to a robot versus another person. The researchers suggest this is likely because people do not feel the need to compete with a robot the way they would with another person. If a is replaced by another human, it casts doubt on their ability to do a job—if they are replaced by a robot, though, it is just a sign of technology taking over.

In a third study, the researchers asked 296 people who worked in manufacturing if they thought they were going to lose their someday due to being replaced by some form of technology. They report that roughly a third of respondents felt like it was a real possibility.


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More information: Armin Granulo et al. Psychological reactions to human versus robotic job replacement, Nature Human Behaviour (2019). DOI: 10.1038/s41562-019-0670-y
Journal information: Nature Human Behaviour

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Aug 07, 2019
Click bait. Like saying someone would rather die from being run over by a train rather than a car.

Aug 07, 2019
I wonder if this is true of sex workers?

Aug 07, 2019
I thought that SpookyOtto would have been in here by now, explaining "overpopulation", the "tribal dynamic" and how robots will take over because they are far better than the human animal.

Don't mention 'sex' anywhere near Otto. He thinks that sexual intercourse is responsible for overpopulation.

Aug 07, 2019
I thought that SpookyOtto would have been in here by now, explaining "overpopulation", the "tribal dynamic" and how robots will take over because they are far better than the human animal.

Don't mention 'sex' anywhere near Otto. He thinks that sexual intercourse is responsible for overpopulation.

Ha! You have another reason?

Aug 08, 2019
"If a worker is replaced by another human, it casts doubt on their ability to do a job"
I don't get this.
Assuming "their" refers to the colleague, why should that influence my self-image? They were replaced because of a reason, I assume that reason is that their job is simpler. It is a boost to my ego since my job apparently couldn't be automated as easily.
Assuming "their" refers to me, why should my colleague's job's automation influence my self-image?

A far more likely reason for someone to dislike exchanging a human colleague for a robot colleague is because they like being around people.

Aug 08, 2019
"A far more likely reason for someone to dislike exchanging a human colleague for a robot colleague is because they like being around people."

Yeah.....40 years ago? Things and people's mindset about work and its parameters changed slightly since then. That study points out something most people have yet to realize, but is quite logical: it's less irritating to lose against the passing time than other people thrown at you because of mindless competition.

Aug 08, 2019
it's less irritating to lose against the passing time than other people thrown at you because of mindless competition.

But the question was "if they would rather see a colleague replaced by a human or a robot". You and the article are both acting as if the first question was "if they would rather be replaced by a human colleague or a robot" when in fact it was not about you at all.

Ooooh wait, I was getting the first and second studies mixed up. I though the conclusion of the second study applied to the questions asked in the first study.
My apologies, please ignore the first part of this comment.

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