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Americans surveyed see artificial intelligence as jobs killer

(Bloomberg) --While more Americans see businesses moving jobs abroad as a greater economic threat than artificial intelligence, the majority of workers expect that AI will also be a jobs killer.

As companies ramp up hiring to develop AI, workers agree they need retraining for today’s in-demand skills. At the same time, global workers -- particularly Americans -- say going back to school is no longer a feasible option, according to a survey by Northeastern University and Gallup.

Just 1 in 4 Americans are confident that the higher education system is doing enough to address the need for career-long learning and retraining. Tuition costs are the biggest deterrent, followed by academic programs that aren’t keeping up with an evolving workplace environment, according to the survey.

Adults have even less confidence in the government’s ability to prepare the public for the latest technological revolution. Instead, workers say training programs provided by employers is the most popular option.

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A worker monitors as cans of Coca-Cola Co. brand Fanta carbonated soft drink move along a conveyor at the Coca-Cola Cambodia Bottling Plant, operated by Cambodia Beverage Co. which is a subsidiary of Coca-Cola, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on Tuesday, May 28, 2019. Coca-Cola, locked in a renewed battle for global beverage sales with rival PepsiCo Inc., got a boost from better sales last quarter. Global unit case volume, a key measure for Coke, rose 2 percent, fueled by a 7 percent spike in Asia Pacific. Photographer: Taylor Weidman/Bloomberg

If given the choice, workers prefer to receive hybrid training that includes person-to-person and online instruction. They also agree that it is more important for individuals to learn and be trained more frequently over the course of their career, instead of pursuing a one-time advanced degree or certificate.

Among the three countries polled, Canadians were most optimist about their educational system and Americans were the least upbeat.

In particular, among Americans, whites are disillusioned with the college educational system. More whites say that earning a college degree is less important than it was 10 years ago and that it will remain less important in the coming decade. Other races see earning a college degree as more important than it was 10 years ago and believe that it will continue to be so in the years to come.