back to article When AI and automation come to work you stress less – but hate your job more

Applying AI and automation to jobs can have both positive and negative impacts on workers, according to a new study. "The impact of automation and artificial intelligence on worker well-being", by Georgia Institute of Technology boffin Daniel Schiff and Georgia State University's Luisa Nazareno, found workers in jobs that …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Automation

    I don't much like it myself, but you have to admit that, 200 years ago, 99% of the population were farmers. We automated that and now I'm guessing that 95% of the population are doing other things.

    So automation is not a bad thing in itself, it's just the transition period for the people who have to find another set of skills that is difficult.

    1. martyn.hare
      Thumb Up

      Be the change you want to see!

      I'd rather lose my job through automating away what makes me relevant in the here and now than become someone's meat sack automaton, it's that simple. I'm already most of the way there and when the day comes that me and my bosses can't exploit low-hanging fruit for easy money, I'll relish the extra challenge!

      Now gimme the full, unredacted original paper, so I can find out the whole truth!

  2. Peter2 Silver badge

    I don't much like it myself, but you have to admit that, 200 years ago, 99% of the population were farmers. We automated that and now I'm guessing that 95% of the population are doing other things.

    In England in 1800 ~70% of the population were employed farming. It was ~1.005% in 2020.

    Also, mass manufacture didn't exist in 1800; the very concept of a production line and mass manufacture equipment was introduced with the Portsmouth Blockmaking machinery a few years afterwards. Everything (including the cotton in a shirt) was made by hand by skilled (and well paid) craftsmen. The first cotton mill on an industrial scale burned down (most likely due to arson from the people it was impoverishing) a decade or so before 1800.

    The introduction of mass automation gradually shifted an immense amount of money from people who were skilled craftsmen and skilled/semi skilled labourers to the upper middle classes and aristocracy, resulting in widespread poverty and equally widespread discontentment which is the eventual backdrop against Marx writing his famous little essay on the shortcomings of capitalism. The reality is that for most people it wasn't a case of finding another set of skills to get a high paying job, it was a case of accepting that decent paying jobs no longer existed and accepting poverty. Much like today, really.

    Historically this resulted in the Labour movement and trade unions in the 19th century extorting a living wage out of employers, and then getting greedy and demanding more and more until they collapsed the businesses they were working for in the 20th century as foreign businesses became more competitive resulting in the ruin of both the labourers and the employers.

    The main difference between then and now is that in 1800 only a tiny number of people could vote, commonly two or three hundred people per seat in parliament, and those people were those that owned property, thereby excluding the working classes from the vote. Nowadays we have a universal franchise so the same situation is likely to lead to a political earthquake as people increasingly vote "fuck you", the very early stages of which we are probably already seeing.

  3. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Yawn

    "The result was the discovery that the control the worker felt they had over their jobs – not the stress level – most affected job satisfaction."

    The general nature of the findings (independent of the specific automation in question) has been recognised ever since Henry Ford introduced the production line. But whether this paper contributes serious new knowledge would depend on many factors including definitions of terms such as 'stress' , and of course the overall research method.

    In Ford's case the evidence was direct - complaints, resignations, difficulty hiring and the need to jack up pay rates, so it was pretty conclusive. There's also a massive body of solid research since the 1950s into the psychological effects of restricted personal control in the context of brainwashing, with comparable results. I suspect that the loss of control, regardless of the means whereby it's accomplished, is the key issue.

    Maybe this paper has some new insights but as it's paywalled except for the abstract we can't find out.

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