Leadership

Only 13% of Americans are scared that robots will take their jobs, a recent poll shows

Responding to Russian president Vladimir Putin's warning this week that "whoever leads in artificial intelligence will rule the world," Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that competition for AI will "most likely cause" World War 3.

For now, Americans aren't sweating it. In fact, most employed U.S. adults aren't worried about technology eliminating their jobs, the annual Work and Education Gallup poll shows.

Only 13 percent of Americans are fearful that tech will eradicate their work opportunities in the near future, according to the poll. Notably, workers are relatively more concerned about immediate issues like wages and benefits.

This corresponds with another recent Gallup survey finding that about one in eight workers, or 13 percent of Americans, also believe it's likely they will lose their jobs due to new technology, automation, robots or AI in the next five years.

While the survey reflects a generally confident American workforce, Monster career expert Vicki Salemi tells CNBC Make It that people should not become complacent.

Employees need to think of themselves as replaceable in a way that propels them into action," Salemi says, "so they can focus on continuously learning and sharpening their skills."

In the meantime, Americans can look to what the tech giants are saying.

Musk tends to paints a drearier picture of a world shared with AI, saying its effects will be polarizing on humanity.

While he created OpenAI to "build safe artificial intelligence," Musk says AI will cause job disruption and says no job is safe.

On the contrary, Salemi emphasizes that Americans shouldn't be paranoid and lose sleep every night. Rather, they should think about AI "from a place of power."

"If your job does start to get automated, you'll already have a game plan and solid skill set to back you up for your next career move," she says.

AI optimists Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and business magnate Bill Gates think AI and humans can share a symbiotic relationship.

Gates says if he were just starting out his career today, he writes in an open letter, AI is one of the few fields he would join.

"We have only begun to tap into all the ways it will make people's lives more productive and creative," Gates writes.

Furthermore, Zuckerberg says AI will make our lives better in the future.

"In the next five to 10 years, AI is going to deliver so many improvements in the quality of our lives," Zuckerberg says in a recent Facebook Live.

If you find yourself in the 13 percent of Americans worried about losing their jobs to robots, Salemi says you can "robot-proof" your job through networking.

"Always be on top of your game, she says. "If your industry is becoming more digitally focused, get schooled on specific skills."

"Instead of being lax about your career, always stay ahead of the curve, keep your resume in circulation, ask yourself where the industry is headed and most importantly where you and your skills fit in."

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