Technology

Robots are welcome to clean our houses, but we’ll hang on to our jobs: Research reveals Aussie attitudes

Martin Kovacs /

The potential impact that automation will have on employment across a variety of industries is a growing focus, however, new YouGov Omnibus data shows Australians are maintaining perspective on the pros and cons of the rise of the robots.

According to YouGov data collected in September from a sample size of just over 1000 people, nearly two-thirds of Australians believe robots “will make our lives easier”, and three-quarters agree robots “can do things humans don’t want to do”.

YouGov found that fewer than one in seven Australians say they would not want a robot in their lives, and when survey respondents were presented with 12 different potential robot functions, help with house cleaning ranked as the most popular after being chosen by seven out of 10 respondents.

Robot security proved another popular proposal (selected by 55% of respondents), along with help in the garden (chosen by 43%).

Women and men largely concurred on the role of robots in helping with household chores, however, when considering socially oriented tasks, 27% of men said they would want a robot to assist with care of the elderly, compared to 15% of women, and 26% of men were keen on a robot for companionship, as opposed to 17% of women.

Meanwhile, three-quarters of Australians agreed that robots will take jobs away, yet just one in 10 believe a robot would be better than them at their job.

Younger generations are more inclined to believe that a robot would do a better job than them, with 13% of respondents aged 18–29 saying they believed this to be the case, as did 15% of those aged 30–44. This compared to 8% of those aged over 45.

Concurrently, 37% of respondents aged 18–29 said a robot would not be better than them at their job, as did 43% of those aged 30–44. In comparison, 59% of those aged over 45 said they would out-perform a robot.

According to YouGov, nearly eight in 10 respondents agreed that robots should be regulated carefully.

Read more: Why Alibaba founder Jack Ma thinks robots will replace chief executives in 30 years

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Martin Kovacs

Martin Kovacs is a journalist with experience covering the IT, consumer electronics, retail, finance and energy sectors.

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