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FOBO: The Fear That’s Worse Than FOMO

Fear of Technology-Driven Job Loss, the rise of AI

What is FOBO?

Fear of becoming obsolete (FOBO) is on the rise among U.S. workers, driven by the increasing capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI). A recent Gallup poll found that 22% of workers now worry that technology will make their job obsolete, up from 15% in 2021. This is the highest level of FOBO since Gallup began tracking the trend in 2017.

The rise in FOBO is particularly pronounced among college-educated workers. In 2023, 20% of college-educated workers said they were worried about their jobs becoming obsolete, up from 8% in 2021. This is likely due to the fact that AI is increasingly being used in white-collar jobs, such as those in finance, law, and healthcare.


Fear of Technology-Driven Job Loss Is Growing

The poll asked workers to indicate if they were worried or not worried about specific issues, and the “fear that technology could threaten their job” saw the most statistically significant increase. Prior to 2017, this trend saw very little movement, but it has seen more growth in the past two years than it has during the entire time since 2017.

The concern can be directly linked to huge developments in AI in the form of chatbots like ChatGPT. The rise of chatbots is just one example of how technology is changing the workplace. Other technologies, such as robotics and automation, are also making it possible for machines to do many of the jobs that were once done by humans.

This is leading to a growing fear among workers that they will be replaced by machines. While it is true that technology will displace some jobs, it is also creating new jobs. The key for workers is to be prepared for the changes that are taking place and to develop the skills that will be in demand in the future.

Bottom Line

The development of language models like ChatGPT is changing the way we think about the capabilities of computers in the workplace. These models are now capable of carrying on sophisticated conversations and even writing computer code. This is leading to a growing fear among workers, particularly those with college degrees, that their jobs could be automated.

However, it is important to note that the threat of automation is not imminent. For now, the vast majority of jobs still require human interaction and creativity. Additionally, the labour market is still strong, and most workers are not feeling any immediate threat to their job security.

Nevertheless, it is important for workers to be aware of the potential impact of technology on their jobs. They should stay up-to-date on the latest technological trends and develop skills that will be in demand in the future. By doing so, they can position themselves for success in the years to come.

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