A.I. is making Singaporeans nervous about job security, finds new survey

A recent Ipsos survey finds that Singaporeans are excited (65%) about products and services that use AI. Younger adults (below 35 years old) are the most excited about AI, with 77% of them expressing excitement. Even non digital natives (those above 50 years old) are not indifferent, with 55% of them saying they are excited about AI.

Singaporeans agree that AI will give them more time to get things done (64%) and improve their entertainment options (57%). But among Singaporean workers, 67% expect AI to change the way they do their jobs, and 41% expect it to replace their current jobs in the next five years. 

Expectations of such AI disruption to jobs vary across countries, with the highest observed in Southeast Asia and lowest in Northern Europe. The difference between the two regions is as high as 50 percentage points. These expectations are also much higher among younger people and decision-makers than among others.

With the surge in new AI applications, two-thirds of Singaporeans (67%) say they have a good understanding of what AI is, and 57% say they are aware of the types of products and services that use AI. 

64% of Singaporeans also believe that AI-based products and services have more benefits than drawbacks. This sentiment is shared by other Asian countries, with an average of 62% of respondents in the Asia Pacific region expressing a positive view of AI. 

In contrast, only 37% of North Americans and 46% of Europeans agree that AI has more benefits than drawbacks.

While there is excitement towards AI, one in two Singaporeans (53%) also say that they are nervous about AI-based products and services. Only 54% of Singaporeans trust that companies using AI will protect their personal information. 

Though this is significantly higher than the trust levels in Japan, France, and the United States, where only 32% of people trust AI companies to protect their personal information.

Most Singaporeans (78%) expect AI-powered products and services to profoundly change their daily life in the coming years. While there is optimism about time management and entertainment options, there is also widespread concern about negative impacts on employment. 

Katharine Zhou, Country Manager for Ipsos in Singapore said, “The perceived impact of AI on products and services and the fear around job security are elevated in Singapore, as they are in most Asian markets, according to our recent Global Advisor survey. 

“In a time of inflation and a fragile global economy, the fear of unemployment is a top worry for many Singaporeans. While Singaporeans are open to new technology and welcome the exciting advances that AI will continue to bring, it does not distract them from the pressures of a high-cost city life nor the less understood impacts of AI. 

“Organizations have a role to play in helping people understand the benefits of AI, its complexity, and the implications for data privacy.”

These are some of the findings of a survey of 22,816 adults under the age of 75 conducted between May 26 and June 9, 2023, on the Ipsos Global Advisor online survey platform in 30 countries and mostly face-to-face in India. 

In Singapore, the sample consists of c.a. 500 Singaporean Citizens aged 21 – 74. The survey results shed light on the evolving perceptions and expectations of AI among consumers worldwide, revealing both excitement and apprehension about its potential impact on various aspects of life.

Photo credit: iStock/ Thinkhubstudio

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