73% of Filipinos believe robots will make lives easier: survey

About 73 percent of Filipinos believe that robots will make their lives easier and three-quarters agree that robots can do things humans don’t want to do.

robot waiter

A new survey by YouGov Omnibus revealed that most Filipinos are happy to welcome robots into their lives, with just 1 in 20 saying they would not want a robot. However, the survey suggests that Filipinos are cautiously optimistic about the impact of robots on society.

Out of a list of 12 possible functions, the most popular use for a robot is to help with cleaning the house, which almost 8 in 10 would want. Other popular choices include security and assistance at work.

Women and men appear to be in broad agreement about the use of robots for household chores such as cleaning the house, gardening, and carrying things.

However, they are more divided about the use of robots for security — 79% of men would want a robot for security, whereas 72% of women do and driving — 36% of men would want to robot to help with driving, while 25% of women would want the same.

Despite being able to see the benefits that robots could bring, Filipinos also recognize the threat they pose to people’s employment prospects.

Almost two-thirds of Filipinos agree that robots will take jobs away from many of us. However, many do not currently feel personally threatened by robots in the workplace, with only 1 in 10 believing that a robot would be better than them at their job.

Younger generations are less certain of their place at work. While 53% of those aged 18-29 think that a robot would not be better than them at their job, nearly 6 in 10 of those over 45 do. Those under 45 are also more likely to think that a robot could do their job at least as well as them.

Forty percent of 18-29-year-olds believe a robot could do their job either the same as or better than them. This is true for 34% of 30-44-year-olds but just 32% of over 45s.

With robots set to shake up the economy, there is certainly a challenge ahead. Eight in 10 Filipinos agree that robots should be regulated carefully, suggesting that regulators will have to forge a new and difficult path that seeks to maximize the benefits of new technology without taking away citizens’ opportunities or income.

YouGov said that developments in genetics, artificial intelligence and robotics mean that robots could instead destroy livelihoods across vast swathes of the population, with recent research suggesting that about 45 percent of the activities people are paid to do could be automated over the next few decades. — Edu Lopez

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