“Who Can Replace a Man”?: The Attitudes of Arts Students towards the Role of Robots and AI in the 21st Century (A Case Study from the Course ‘Selected Short Stories’)

Authors

  • Nitiwadee Sawaddee Faculty of Arts, Silpakorn University
  • Santichai Preechaboonyarit Faculty of Arts, Silpakorn University

Keywords:

attitude, arts students, technology, robots and AI, employment

Abstract

This research surveyed attitudes towards robots and AI of 34 students who enrolled in the course Selected Short Stories at the Faculty of Arts, Silpakorn University.  The short story “Who Can Replace a Man?” (1963) was used as a tool to initiate conversation and questions since the story presents the future where robots replace the human workforce.  Published half a century ago, this imagination still reflects and questions the current situation of the 21st century job market where humans are increasingly competing with and depending on technology.  The research employed classroom discussion and asked for personal opinions via semi-constructed questionnaires with the aims to 1) explore the students’ awareness of the current abilities of robots and AI, and to 2) examine their attitudes and opinions towards the issue of  technology replacing the human workforce.  The framework of Attitudes Towards Technology (ATT) by Mitcham and Ehlers & Kerschner was then used to identify the students’ types of attitude. The results show that most students’ understanding of the potential of technology was sufficient and most students believed that technology would replace the human workforce as presented in the short story.  However, the majority were adamant that jobs in the field of humanities could not be replaced by technology. The survey concluded that Determinism was the main attitude type of this group. Further explanation from the students exhibited a trait that is congruent with the ATT framework, that is, they felt the way technology shapes society is dependent on how it is used.

References

Allan, D. (2001). Literature and Reality. Journal of European Studies, 31(122), 143–156.

Dally, H.D. & Cob, J.B. (1994). For the Common Good: Redirecting the Economy toward Community, the Environment, and a Sustainable Future. 2nd ed. Boston: Beacon Press.

Deloitte. (2018a). The Fourth Industrial Revolution is here—are you ready?. Deloitte. Retrieved 20 August 2020, from https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/tr/Documents/manufacturing/Industry4-0_Are-you-ready_Report.pdf

Deloitte. (2018b). Millennials disappointed in business, unprepared for Industry 4.0: 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey. Deloitte. Retrieved 20 August 2020, from https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/global/Documents/About-Deloitte/gx-2018-millennial-survey-report.pdf.

Ehlers, M. & Kerschner, C. (2016) A framework of attitudes towards technology in theory and practice. Ecological Economics. 126, 139-151. . Retrieved 20 August 2020, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921800916302129#s0020

Fromm, E. (1965). The Sane Society. New York: Fawcett Books.

Frost & Sullivan. (2020). Cognitive Era. Frost. Retrieved 25 August 2020, from https://ww2.frost.com/research/visionary-innovation/mega-trends/artificial-intelligence-cognitive-era/?fbclid=IwAR1Dfl6BPaCOLEhNZaTcVoY-bh9BuFRs5uY5IaOYyJ7epmec5rHJzX-CYjI

Funtowicz, S.O. & Ravetz, J.R., (2008). Post-Normal Science. International Society for Ecological Economics (Content Partner). Encyclopedia of Earth. https://editors.eol.org/eoearth/wiki/Post-Normal_Science

Krier, J.E. & Gillette, C.P., (1985). The Un-easy Case for Technological Optimism. Michigam Law Review, 84(3), 405-429. https://www.jstor.org/stable/1289008

MacKenzie, D. & Wajcman, J., (1985). The Social Shaping of Technology. Milton Kaynes: Open University Press,.

Mitcham, C. (1994). Thinking through Technology. Chicago: Chicago University Press.

Mueller, A. (2015). R.U.R. Revisited: Perspectives and Reflections on Modern Robotics. International Journal of Social Robotics. Retrieved 25 December 2020, from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/286764715_RUR_Revisited_Perspectives_and_Reflections_on_Modern_Robotics

Organisation for European Economic Co-operation-OECD. (2021). Artificial Intelligence and Employment: New Evidence in Occupations Most Exposed to AI. Retrieved 25 August 2020, from https://www.oecd.org/future-of-work/reports-and-data/AI-Employment-brief-2021.pdf .

Robert, S. (2017). Brian Aldiss, Author of Science Fiction and Much More, Dies at 92. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/24/books/brian-aldiss-author-of-science-fiction-and-much-more-dies-at-92.html

Schwartz, J., Stockton, H., & Monahan, K. Forces of Change. (2017). Deloitte. Retrieved 25 August 2020, from https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/insights/focus/technology-and-the-future-of-work/overview.html

Tainter, J. A. (2000). "Problem Solving: Complexity, History, Sustainability." Population & Environment, 22(1), 3-41.

Tymn, M.B., Zahorski, K.J. & Boyer, R. H. (1979.) Fantasy literature: A core collection and reference guide. Bowker.

Published

01-08-2022

How to Cite

Sawaddee, N. ., & Preechaboonyarit, S. . (2022). “Who Can Replace a Man”?: The Attitudes of Arts Students towards the Role of Robots and AI in the 21st Century (A Case Study from the Course ‘Selected Short Stories’). Journal of Arts and Thai Studies, 44(2), 151–165. Retrieved from https://so08.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/artssu/article/view/488

Issue

Section

Research Articles