The increase of artificial intelligence and automation has millennials worried — and aiming for jobs where they manage the robots.

Some members of the generation that grew up marveling at modern technology are worried they won’t be able to compete with it when the next recession hits.

One in three millennials fear that automation will take over theirs at some point in the future, according to a recent study from Pepperdine Graziadio Business School, a graduate program in Malibu, California.

“These findings suggest that the recession left an indelible impression on young people and will follow them around for the foreseeable future,” says David M. Smith, Ph.D., associate professor of economics at the school. “But in spite of these challenges, millennials still view their career prospects with cheerful optimism.”

What is automation?

Automation is the use of computers, robotics and artificial intelligence to perform human-run jobs. The International Society of Automation — a global nonprofit organization dedicated to educating about automation and setting industry standards — defines the term as “the creation and application of technology to monitor and control the production and delivery of products and services.”

The ISA says automation as a professional field includes all job titles involved in creating and applying that tech.

Mckinsey Global Institute reported 60 percent of current jobs worldwide could have more than one-third of their work activities potentially facing automation — with current technology.

Will automation kill or create jobs?

There is research pointing to both sides of the spectrum. U.K.-based consulting firm PWC released a study last year reporting that 38 percent of all jobs in the United States would move into automation by 2030.

The University of Oxford estimated in 2013 that almost half (47 percent) of all U.S. jobs will move to automation by year 2033.

Despite the concerns that many jobs will move to automation, many experts argue that as technology progresses new jobs are created.

It’s called the “Luddite fallacy,” the fear that technology is bad and leads to job loss. In reality, what we’ve seen before is that over time new technology will change the workforce, eliminating old jobs but creating new ones.

PWC’s study says aside from the U.S., Germany would see 35 percent of jobs moving to automation by 2030 and the U.K. would see 30 percent, while in Japan only 20 percent would be automated.

The study suggests that some jobs in the U.S. are more susceptible to automation than the same jobs in the U.K. Qualification for those U.S. jobs require less education than abroad.

How can millennials prepare for the future?

The Pepperdine study says that 39 percent of millennials are either already working a job where they manage automation or have considered a job in a related field.

Jobs requiring less education are more likely to turn to automation, PWC’s study.

This could be one reason why more millennials who currently manage automation (62 percent) believe machines will take over the work they do today, compared to (29 percent) who don’t, according to the study.

They already have a sense for what the future holds and have a better grasp on keeping up with changes over time. “Close to two in three millennials who have a job managing automation feel ‘very confident’ they can achieve their career goals, compared to 37 percent of those who do not deal with automation,” says a press release of the study.

Smith believes that millennials with leftover fears from the Great Recession can overcome their worries with education on the future workforce.

“Everyone has their past, present, and future but education, primarily earning an MBA or specialized degree, is seen as a pathway forward,” says Smith. “The lump of coal in the stocking might be how millennials face up to near-term financial challenges.”

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Joe Pye

Joe Pye

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Pye is the associate editor of

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Article last modified on May 22, 2018 Published by, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Millennials Fear Robots Will Take Their Jobs One Day - AMP.