Survey: Black Workers Fear Being Replaced By AI 

Survey: Black Workers Fear Being Replaced By AI 

President Biden signed an executive order to hold robust AI systems to new standards and take action towards in-built biases.

A new survey conducted by Charter Works found that Black workers fear losing their jobs to AI within the next five years.

The workplace research firm found that 53% of Black workers feel pressure about the broader use of AI and automation. In comparison, only 39% of white respondents reported fear of AI job replacement.

“It’s unsurprising that Black workers have greater anxiety and fear about being replaced in the workplace by AI than white workers,” Myaisha Hayes, a director at racial and economic justice nonprofit MediaJustice told Insider. “Historically, Black and brown workers tend to be the least protected and therefore most exploited for their labor — and that trend has carried over in the digital age.”

Out of the 1,173 US workers surveyed across industries and job levels, one Black respondent predicted that AI tools like ChatGPT would “take the place of human employees.” Another respondent expressed concern about a “tidal wave of unemployment.”

Emily Goligoski, one of the leading researchers involved in the Charter study, told Insider that Black workers in low-wage roles were more vulnerable to their jobs being replaced by AI, robots, and other automation technologies. 

A McKinsey & Co. report found that these workers, representing the fast-food, retail, and customer service industries, are at risk of being replaced by self-checkout kiosks, robot cooks, and robot servers. Researchers predicted that Black workers will lose a total of 132,000 jobs by 2030. 

Today, in all industries, workplace surveillance looks like using methods from keystroke and computer activity monitoring at unprecedented rates. Low-wage workers are more likely to be surveilled and served with immediate and severe consequences, such as automatic firings due to missing productivity targets. At Amazon, where Black workers are overrepresented among call center and warehouse jobs, “consequences of worker surveillance are concentrated and compounded due to occupational segregation.”

To address the imbalance, President Biden signed an executive order to hold robust AI systems to new standards and take action against built-in biases.

As AI capabilities grow, the survey also found that 45% of Black respondents reported using AI tools in their day-to-day jobs, and 61% look forward to using AI in the future, compared to 51% and 37% of white respondents, respectively.

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