Most people are optimistic about workplace automation, social data suggests

A study by Adobe Digital Insights posits that the average worker is upbeat about welcoming robots into the workplace.

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Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto

There's lots of prognosticating about what impact robotics and automation will have on the future of work -- with mostly dystopian depictions predicting displaced workers and increasing unemployment. But new social data from Adobe Digital Insights suggests that the average worker is far less cynical when it comes to welcoming robots into the workplace.

According to Adobe, most people are talking (on social media) about how robots are helping their work, not taking it away. Workers are also upbeat about being able to hand over mundane tasks to robots so human workers can do more meaningful jobs. Machine learning, artificial intelligence, and robots were the most discussed FOW topics.

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Adobe's report is based on roughly 3 million social mentions captured from Twitter, news, blogs, and forums between January 2016 and January 2017. Interestingly, the FOW hashtag was mentioned twice as many times on Twitter than on workplace-focused LinkedIn.

Across social media, Future of Work (FOW) mentions are up 40 percent year over year, automation mentions have doubled year over year and average daily mentions of robots and jobs have increased 70 percent year over year.

"Overall, people seem to believe the FOW is promising, particularly when it comes to the automation of traditionally mundane tasks," wrote Joe Martin, head of social insights for Adobe, in a blog post. "Automating document and signature processes, for example, could open up new possibilities for people as the tech revolution advances. Work environments should continue to improve as employees demand more from their space."

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