We all think we’re less likely to be affected by misfortune than other people. This is such a phenomena that psychologists have a name for it: Unrealistic comparative optimism. Whether it’s saving a few bucks by not paying for the rental car insurance or putting off that visit to the doctor, humans do this all the time.
So it’s no surprise that when it comes to thinking about being replaced by robots, people behave no differently. When asked in an online survey by LivePerson, 65% of 2,000 respondents agreed that their job was safe from automation, but that people in other industries needed to be worried. By most reports, including the White House’s own study in 2016, this is unrealistic comparative optimism.
But there is a small minority that’s bucking human psychology: the same survey found 35% of those in the transportation industry are already beginning to learn new skills for fear of being replaced by machines.