1:14pm 18/09/2023
Feeling disposable in the age of AI? That’s probably ‘FOBO’
By:Jelou Galang / Philippine Daily Inquirer / ANN

While many people are heavily amused with artificial intelligence-generated song covers (Justin Bieber’s “Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love For You” has TikTok in a chokehold) and ChatGPT’s seemingly limitless responses, among other benefits of the booming technology, there are elephants in the room.

If you’ve been feeling that the “what if robots take over the world” film plot is becoming too real, or overthinking about becoming easily replaceable in the near future, there’s apparently a term for that: “FOBO.”

No, it’s not exactly an upgraded version of FOMO (fear of missing out) or its cousin “fear of better options.”

In the context of the AI age, FOBO means “fear of being obsolete” — basically if you’ve been getting a hunch that the current technology can eventually make your job insignificant.

According to a poll by Washington, DC-based analytics and advisory company Gallup, 22 percent of workers in the US feel this way. This is up by seven percentage points from the previous reading in 2021.

Although the term FOBO has been around before that, it’s only in the past two years that the score has significantly grown.

Younger workers (18 to 34 years old) feel the threat more than older ones, and the noticeably concerned group are college graduates, with their level of worry increasing from eight percent in 2021 to 20 percent this year.

This new score brings this demographic close to the level of concern (24 percent) of those who do not have a college degree.

Also, both men and women have the same seven percentage points of increase within the timeframe.

The number one (sub)fear under this big one? Loss of benefits. Others include getting: their wages reduced (24 percent); replaced by technology (22 percent); laid off (20 percent); their hours cut back (19 percent); and moved overseas because of their job (seven percent).

“Of these concerns, only fear that technology could threaten their job has increased to a statistically significant degree since 2021,” Gallup notes.

“Worry about the other five job fears remain well below their high points that occurred after the Great Recession, from mid-2009 to mid-2013.”

These rapid changes in technology shouldn’t be underestimated. Gallup notes that it’s not just about “robots standing in for humans in warehouses and on assembly lines” anymore, given how AI can already “mimic human language” as seen in ChatGPT.

A BBC news article published last March mentions a report by investment bank Goldman Sachs, which claims that AI could take over more than 300 million full-time jobs.

Meanwhile, an Insider article published this month lists down ten jobs most likely to be replaced by AI, which includes careers in tech (like programmers and encoders), media (writing and content creation), and even customer service.


Asia News Network


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