“Technophobes” are people who fear robots, artificial intelligence
or new technology
. With the rising advancements, a recent study says that these people are more likely to be afraid of losing their jobs
and even suffer anxiety-related mental health issues.
“If you’re afraid of losing your job to a robot, you’re not alone,” said researcher Paul McClure, a sociologist in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences. “This is a real concern among a substantial portion of the American population. They are not simply a subgroup of generally fearful people.”
The study published in Social Science Computer Review,
utilized 1,541 respondents from Wave 2 of The Chapman Survey of American Fears- an annual national random survey where people were asked about their fears, anxieties, worries, sleep patterns, restlessness, inability to relax, susceptibility to irritation and feelings of dread.
Results showed that more than a third (37 percent) of those in the study fit the definition of a “technophobe”. This group are also three times more fearful of unemployment and not having enough money in the future than others. They even fear this more than those potentially threatening or dangerous circumstances like romantic rejection, public speaking and police brutality. Technophobes can’t also seem to stop or control worrying and constantly feel as if something awful might happen.
While technology visionaries contend these new technological advancements can benefit our economy, “many people in the United States suspect that technology will not deliver widespread financial security, nor will it be a panacea for the world’s underprivileged,” McClure said.
“Anticipating the individual and social outcomes is a matter worth pursuing,” McClure said. “If these fears are misplaced, more research needs to be done to dispel technophobia as a legitimate social concern…Regardless of whether technology might lead to certain people’s jobs becoming obsolete, the fear itself is real.”
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