What’s Trending: AI Anxiety

What’s Trending: AI Anxiety

What’s Trending: AI Anxiety
Reading Time: 4 minutes

With the sudden appearance of AI in various creative industries, there has been a rise in AI anxiety in more than one sector. We have been using artificial intelligence at work for a long time, but the new development has left many feeling as if they’re about to be fired or replaced from their jobs.

But what do experts have to say about this? Is there any reason for concern or is it all being taken out of proportion? How can you get your mental health and anxiety under control when thinking about a future job market where AI is a mature technology? Read below to find out.


In LinkedIn’s /LEAD blog, Allison McLellan wrote about the many anxieties that have plagued workers over the rise of generative AI. GenAI is the first major shift in technology in recent memory, which Indeed Chief Economist Svenja Gudell says will primarily impact knowledge workers.

Indeed’s Hiring Lab recently published a report on how GenAI has and will continue to change how people work. Similarly, Workday, an HR software company, found out that there’s an “AI trust gap” where workers don’t trust that companies will put their interests forward.

“Rather than feeling powerless to new technology entering your workplace, you can use it to learn new skills and become more productive and desirable as a worker.”

Gudell and Indeed Vice President of Data Science Donal McMahon answered some questions about what they think will happen in the next few years with this technological revolution. The first thing they mention is that AI has been in the workforce for a long time, from spell checks to music algorithms, but this leap is because it’s now generative—that is, it now creates text or music, not only checks if it’s right.

This, they say, means that certain areas that were considered mostly a “safe bet” have been masked off as something that isn’t so safe. This is just a cyclical change, with another version of it being knowledge-jobs being favored over labor-based jobs with the industrial revolution and the rise of automation.

Scientific American

In an article for Scientific America, Lauren Leffer asks if AI is a real danger and “can AI affect mental health.” According to some experts she interviewed for this piece, the answers seem yes and no.

Leffer points out that very real anxieties are now haunting professionals, especially those in creative industries, such as background designer Kat Lyons. The entertainment industry and other creative fields have been affected by GenAI, as big studios have embraced the new tech to save money.

Mary Alvord and Sanae Okamoto, psychologists, and mental health professionals, were interviewed about these rising statistics, and both noted that these anxieties are nothing new. Still, the reactions across the board seem to be of general worry about this topic.

Okamoto notes that “Computer anxiety” and “technostress” date back. Before that, there was rampant worry over industrial automation. Past technological advances have led to big societal and economic shifts.”

Alvord, who deals with patients with anxiety, says that there should be a way to strike a balance, as anxiety can be a motivator, or if it’s too much, it can paralyze people. Not only that, Simone Grassini,  a psychologist at Norway’s University of Bergen and lead researcher of a new study, points out that the media has been making a bigger deal than it is.

The study that raised questions about GenAI outscored the average human in creativity. This study had the trap that even though GenAI outscored the average human, that doesn’t mean it’s ready to take over creative work because the human reviewers weren’t professionals, just volunteers who had no clue about the study. Besides, the top works were human, as GenAI only did better on average.


Josie Cox, who writes for the BBC, argues that AI anxiety is real among workers, but it’s being overblown, according to experts. According to her article, workers are worried about being replaced by AI. This might be justified as, according to Goldman Sachs, AI could eventually replace 300 million jobs.

HR experts explain that this is a reskilling revolution. They say that AI is a tool that can boost the performance and productivity of workers, but only if workers are open to it. Across the board, they agree that learning how to use AI to their advantage might become the next hot skill in the job market.

“People have the power to make their own decisions about how much they worry: They can either choose to feel anxious about AI or be empowered to learn about it and use it to their advantage.”

Cox argues that a big part of the uncertainty is that AI seemed to just burst in from the left field, creating what seems to be “an AI arms race” and that the growth and development aren’t stopping any time soon.

Still, Professor Eric Dahlin from Brigham Young University says that the estimates are probably far off from reality as people misperceive the way automation has been taking over. For her part, Stefanie Coleman, a principal in consultancy EY, predicts that the future will be more of a “binary” work, where humans and AI will coexist, as GenAI can’t replace innate human qualities.

The takeaway

AI is here to stay, and workers are worried about it. According to experts, this worry has some credibility, but they can either get paralyzed or choose to act upon it. Thinking about AI as a tool that workers can learn and master is what HR authorities and psychologists recommend as a way to take control of the future job market. 

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