How We Really Feel About Robots Taking Jobs

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Automation is the way of the future. We've heard it said over and over for years. Robots now build our cars, recycle our outdated tech, and even coach us individually about money. Fear of losing our place in society has driven a lot of ugliness over the centuries, but until now, we really haven't had to cope with machines actually sealing the deal.

Researchers in Germany and the Netherlands have just released some findings on the matter at hand. In some ways, it's actually good news: When our own jobs are at stake, we're way touchier about being replaced by humans at work than robots. At least with automation, we don't have to take a blow to our sense of self-worth.

"For people who have lost their job to a robot, boosting their self-esteem will be less of a priority," said co-author Christoph Fuchs. "In that case, it is more important to teach them new skills that will reduce their concerns about losing out to robots in the long term."

That said, in those industries where people are already working alongside robots, we don't tend to like them very much. Human jobs that have been replaced by machines tends to skew people's political behavior as well. The upside is that total robot autonomy in the workplace is pretty far down the road, as the podcast Land of the Giants documents with Amazon. Whatever comes of the robot revolution, it's ultimately going to need some human solutions.