More than half of CA voters worried about AI taking their jobs, according to new poll

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Friday, December 22, 2023
More than half of CA voters worried about AI taking their jobs: poll
About half of California voters are worried AI will cost them their jobs, according to a poll by Politico/Morning Consult.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- About half of California voters are worried AI will cost them their jobs.

This is from a new poll by Politico/Morning Consult.

California voters were asked: "How concerned are you, if at all, about losing your job due to being replaced by artificial intelligence (AI) in the next five years?"

The poll reported that 22% responded "Very concerned" and 29% responded "Somewhat concerned." The numbers also found that 26% responded "Not too concerned," while 24% responded "Not concerned at all."

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The same poll found 43% said AI will have a positive impact on their lives, with about 39% saying it will have a negative impact.

"It is a legitimate fear. There is no question about it," said tech expert Ahmed Banafa, a professor at San Jose State University. "Because the whole thing about AI is efficiency, meaning doing things faster, more accurate and cheaper."

A study done earlier this year by the Pew Research Center found that in 2022, 19% of American workers were in jobs that are the most exposed to AI.

The study said those are jobs in which the most important activities may be either replaced or assisted by AI.

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Some high exposure jobs included budget analysts, tax preparers and web developers.

Medium exposure jobs included chief executives, veterinarians and interior designers.

Low exposure jobs included barbers, child care workers and firefighters.

Regardless of the exposure, officials at different levels say they have been working to protect jobs.

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The California legislature is set to vote on proposals in its next session.

"We're looking at a number of different areas, which includes how AI is used in the hiring process, how AI is used -- in terms of displacing workers. Those are all relevant issues that we're going to really tackle over the next few years," said State Assemblyman Ash Kalra.

One of the ways is through proposed legislation following the SAG-AFTRA strikes.

It would place requirements on studios as it relates to using AI to replicate a performer's likeness.

Kalra introduced it.

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"That industry is kind of like the tip of the spear, so to speak. It's one that we're aware of. It's very obvious, but some of the impacts of AI aren't so obvious," he said. "So, if we can't even get movement -- in an industry that the public is generally aware of -- it's gonna be really hard to get movement in an office environment, or a warehouse environment or, at a fast food restaurant or grocery store environment."

As officials continue to work those things out, some tech experts, like Banafa, encourage employees to consider embracing AI to make them better at their jobs.

"Don't just shy away from it by saying, well, it's either you or I, and we cannot, you cannot coexist," he said. "The future is actually for both for the AI and for the human to work together."

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