Potential Job Losses Give Credence to Consumer Hesitancy About AI in the Workplace

AI vs human worker

Artificial intelligence (AI) has become an integral part of consumers’ lives, offering convenience and efficiency in various aspects.

However, recent PYMNTS Intelligence reveals that while consumers embrace AI in certain sectors, they exhibit hesitancy when it comes to AI’s involvement in others.

Entertainment, for example, has always been a realm where AI has captivated consumers. From movies to video games, computer-generated imagery (CGI) has been a hit for decades. Nearly half of the 2,300-plus consumers surveyed express interest in AI-enhanced entertainment, with Generation Z leading the way at 62%. However, concerns arise within the entertainment industry regarding generative AI potentially replacing human involvement in scriptwriting and editing.

The evolution of communication, thanks to smartphones, has also paved the way for AI tools to streamline and enhance our interactions. Features like predictive text and transcription have intrigued consumers, with 45% expressing interest in AI’s potential to improve communication experiences. Among Generation Z consumers, this interest rises to 56%.

Another sector where AI has made significant strides is shopping. AI’s ability to compare features and offer personalized recommendations has revolutionized the shopping experience. Consumers are already aware of AI’s involvement in this domain and appreciate the benefits it brings, including 60% of Gen Zs who show interest in AI-enhanced shopping.

On the flip side, when it comes to healthcare, banking and work, consumers exhibit more caution regarding the role of AI. Concerns surrounding privacy, trust and confidentiality likely contribute to this hesitation, per the study.

In the healthcare space, for instance, only 42% of consumers express interest in AI involvement, with the percentage dropping to 34% among baby boomers and seniors. Similarly, in banking, 39% of consumers show interest in AI involvement, but this share drops to 28% among baby boomers and seniors.

Work is the area where consumers show the least interest in AI involvement, with only 37% expressing interest. The fear of job automation looms large, as consumers worry that AI may render their skills obsolete. Interestingly, seven out of ten consumers believe that AI can already replace some of their professional skill sets.

And that fear may not be off base. Earlier this year, PYMNTS reported that advances in AI could eventually impact 300 million jobs worldwide, referencing research by Goldman Sachs which found that generative AI technology such as ChatGPT could create significant disruption for the labor market.

Goldman’s report follows previous research from OpenAI that estimates that generative pre-trained transformer (GPT) models, and software tools built atop them, could affect up to half of the tasks necessary for 19% of the jobs in the U.S.

There is recognition, however, that AI can eliminate pain points, improve efficiency, and enhance accuracy in the workplace. Generation Z, high earners, and those working in office environments display a greater awareness of AI’s potential in the workplace.

In conclusion, the debate surrounding AI’s role and impact across industries continues, as the advantages of the advanced technology do not outweigh — at least not yet — the concerns for many consumers.