Workers are more worried that AI will hurt jobs than help them

(Bloomberg) – Will artificial intelligence ultimately help or hurt U.S. workers? A Brookings Institution survey offers fresh fodder for the debate, showing opinion is heavily tilted against AI at a time companies are increasingly looking for ways to include it in everything they do.

An attendee photographs an autonomous parcel delivery robot, developed by Starship Technologies Ltd. at the AI Congress in London, U.K., on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018. After decades of premature promises, artificial intelligence (AI) is finding its way into businesses from hedge funds to law firms tobeer makers, as the line between ordinary software and AI software has blurred and cloud computingmakes AI available to small companies as well as large. Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

Some 38% of respondents said AI would reduce jobs, while only 12% thought it would create positions, according to an online national survey of 1,535 adult internet users conducted May 9-11 by the Washington-based think tank. Men were more likely than women to say AI would cause job losses. By age, the group most concerned about that possibility was 25-to-34-year-olds: Just 10% said the employment impact would be positive and more than four times that expected a negative fallout.

While the U.S. is seen as the global leader in AI, there’s concern China is closing the gap, the Brookings survey showed. Some 21% of the respondents said the U.S. is No. 1, while 15% picked China. When asked who’d be in the top spot in 10 years, 21% said the U.S. and 20% said China.

China’s government has made it a national priority to overtake the U.S. in AI. Meanwhile, at a recent meeting that included companies ranging from Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Facebook Inc. and Intel Corp. to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Boeing Co., the White House unveiled a hands-off regulatory approach to enable innovations in AI.