A new study from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Erasmus University in Rotterdam found workers are less upset when a robot takes their job than if they were replaced by another human.

(Source: Unsplash)(Source: Unsplash)

During the study, the team analyzed 11 scenarios and surveys, with over 2,000 participants from Europe and North America. The results showed that generally, subjects were generally accepting towards the idea that they were let go because a robot can do their job. However, if replaced by another human, the participants were less tolerant. The reaction was overwhelmingly negative, and most participants said they would be less upset if they instead lost their job to a robot.

The results were the same among study participants who recently lost their job. Unemployed participants also indicated that they would be more upset if a human took a job rather than a robot. The results also showed that participants reported feeling less threatened when their job is taken by a human who is trained to use new technology to do the same job.

The participants indicated that they see technology as a more long term threat to their jobs than other human workers. The team found that people compare themselves to machines less than they compare themselves to other humans. Being replaced by technology is less of a threat to a person’s self-worth than if they were replaced by a person.

There are millions of jobs currently threatened by technology. This article from February describes a U.K. study that predicts AI will overtake 30% of jobs in the U.K. by 2030.

The researchers believe the study has the potential to help decision-makers improve in healthcare and unemployment programs. The study was published in Nature Human Behavior