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Two-thirds of Gen Z worried about job displacement due to AI, survey finds

‘AI is here to stay,’ professor says

Sixty-two percent of Gen Zers are worried about job displacement due to artificial intelligence, or AI, according to a new survey.

A career interest survey of roughly 10,000 Gen Z students, or those born after 1997, found that, among other things, high school and college students from all 50 states believe AI will shrink their job prospects.

In particular, 11 percent of the students surveyed responded that they are “extremely worried” AI would eliminate jobs they were interested in, while 13 percent of Gen Z are “very worried” and 38 percent are “somewhat worried” about job displacement, according to the findings.

The survey was conducted by the National Society of High School Scholars and the results were released this month.

“At this point in time, we recognize that students have a great deal of anxiety about their future jobs, including the role of AI, along with many other factors,” James Lewis, president of NSHSS, told The College Fix via email.

“I think that the best thing that we can do is to arm today’s young people with information that will help them understand and deal with all of the factors that go into finding jobs and making decisions about their futures. AI is just one of those facets,” Lewis said.

Even though 62 percent of Gen Z students are worried about AI taking away jobs they’re interested in, 64 percent of the students surveyed also said they use AI in their day-to-day lives for a variety of reasons.

“Fear is not the right attitude toward AI. I think young people today need to understand that AI is here to stay,” Professor Dwight Ham with The Master’s University told The College Fix in a telephone interview.

AI will permeate “every facet of our economy and of our lives,” said Ham. “It’s probably something that is as significant as what the Industrial Revolution was to our way of living.”

The Master’s University, a Christian liberal arts college in Santa Clarita, Calif., offers a special program of study focused on AI. Ham said that although AI is going to displace jobs, it’s also going to create new ones.

“Certainly, we don’t want to go back to the time when we just used horses to transport ourselves between A and B,” Ham said, adding technology advancements can create new solutions and opportunities.

AI will be a big help in many areas of peoples’ lives including medicine, transportation, and education, and that is “why a lot of students are embracing artificial intelligence,” Ham said.

“They see it as a way of writing better and communicating better and to use it to find out new things. … It could be a great help in terms of our everyday lives.”

In the survey, the Gen Z students who are utilizing AI do so for brainstorming (39 percent), proofreading (33 percent), data analysis (21 percent), writing drafts (19 percent), and art (9 percent). Four percent said they use AI for other activities.

Ham said he recently used AI to write a poem for some close friends who had just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Ham’s son works at a company that utilizes AI to free up workers to spend more time on human interactions, he said.

When students were asked about their feelings towards AI, 24 percent were “terrified,” 18 percent were “confused,” and 17 percent were “annoyed.” A third of students, 32 percent, were excited about AI, the survey found.

But overall, the students surveyed had negative attitudes toward AI, with 59 percent responding that AI would have a more negative than positive impact on society throughout the next decade.

The discrepancy between males and females believing that AI would have a negative effect is noticeable at 43 percent males and 73 percent females.

“Since AI is so new, it’s important to understand Gen Z’s current attitude but to also know it may well become more positive as it expands,” Lewis told The College Fix via email.

Ham’s advice to students: “Ask, ‘How can I prepare today for my future, understanding that artificial intelligence is going to be part of it, and embrace the changes that are ahead?’ … Instead of being fearful about it, ask yourself, ‘How can I take advantage of it?’”

The study was a self-administered online survey, and 10,072 responses were received from Gen Z students located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, overseas U.S. military bases, and U.S. territories. The study took place from January to March.

Respondents had an average GPA of 3.72, and 58 percent of respondents were students of color. Most were high school students.

MORE: One Christian university has decided to welcome ChatGPT, AI trends. Here’s why.

IMAGE: Roman Samborskyi / Shutterstock

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About the Author
College Fix contributor Megan Rosevear is a student at Brigham Young University where she is studying journalism and various forms of dance, including ballet, ballroom, and tap. She is a member of Young Americans for Freedom. In her spare time, she enjoys running, spending time with her family, and writing articles for her productivity blog, which has garnered over a million views.