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Survey Says: Teens Worry About Automation

Dyllan Furness

Dyllan explores technology and the human condition for Tech Emergence. His interests include but are not limited to whiskey, kimchi, and Catahoulas.

Survey Says: Teens Worry About Automation

Ten years ago most kids were afraid of aliens, terrorists, and maybe even adulthood. But the times, they are changing. Adulthood may still be a common fear but a recent international survey reveals children from around the world are worried that their jobs will be taken over by a computer by 2025.

The 20-minute online survey – commissioned by IT services giant Infosys and conducted by independent research agency Future Foundation – gathered answers from around 9,000 teens and young adults aged 16 to 25 in the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, France, Germany, Brazil, India, South Africa, and China. found that more than 25 percent of respondents think their future job will be automated in the next decade. Even more children and young adults seem to have lost faith in traditional education methods, according to the survey. 45 percent referred to contemporary academic learning “old fashioned”.

The surveyed teens and young adults also seemed to recognize their increasing need to work on a global scale. 75 percent of respondents in Australia, Germany, and India think that they’re career competition will come from peers outside of their own country.

Even though half of all respondents said they would like to start a business some day, just 5 percent of those in the United States said they would choose to work in a start-up over a secure, established firms. The international average was twice that at 10 percent but still seem inconsistent with the entrepreneurial spirit often associated with millennials. Young adults in from India, China, South Africa, and Brazil responded with particular interest in the stability and prestige that comes with working for a big company.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, young people in developed countries appear to be more pessimistic than those in developing countries when it comes to their future relationship to technology. After all, technologically sophisticated societies are well aware of our current technological reality and thus keen to the potentialities of our future. According to the survey, 60 percent of respondents from India and China answered that they’re “optimistic” or “very optimistic” about their future. Less than half of Australian respondents answered optimistically.

What does this mean for the future of labor?

For one it suggests it isn’t just the media who’s worried about impending automation. But perhaps more importantly, the survey shows the degree to which young people are aware of and engaged with the “fourth industrial revolution”

Image credit: Getty Images

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