McIntire Professors and Ipsos Join Forces to Report American Attitudes on Automation

Professors Rick Netemeyer, Ahmed Abbasi, and David Dobolyi, together with market and opinion research specialists Ipsos Public Affairs, created a wide-ranging study of American attitudes on automation. As reported in WIRED magazine, the results reveal conflicting consumer perspectives about automation’s effects on the job market, online services, and other potentially disruptive tech.

automation analysis framework

Automation analysis framework.

Do we think that automation will ruin our lives—or make it much easier?

A recent study by the McIntire School’s Center for Business Analytics and Ipsos Public Affairs probed consumer and workplace perspectives of automation that ranged from online banking and self-driving cars to big issues like large-scale job loss. McIntire Professors Rick Netemeyer, Ahmed Abbasi, and David Dobolyi worked closely with their Ipsos colleagues to develop a framework for analyzing automation. Using a large representative sample of the U.S. population, the results reveal a tension between automation’s many perceived consumer-side benefits and the belief by the majority of respondents that it destroys more jobs than it creates. Cliff Young, President of Ipsos Public Affairs, first presented the findings at the annual Business Analytics Colloquium held at McIntire in September.

Ipsos and McIntire are also finalizing a follow-up position piece explaining the socioeconomic implications of the “automation divide” between “autophiles” (those who embrace the technology) and “autophobes” (those who are wary of it).

“Automation is a topic of great interest to our students, corporate partners, and the general public,” Netemeyer notes. “Our results shed light on some of the complexities and nuances of the automation phenomenon. The findings also underscore the value of business curriculum that emphasizes the intersection of strategy, technology, and people. McIntire students are well-positioned to lead in this era of profound digital transformation.”

Read more about the results of the study in WIRED.

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