Humans Fear Rise of the Machines

Almost human

Tuesday 2 May 2014

  • Three in ten Brits (31%) worry they could lose their job to robots

  • 39% believe machines will pose a danger to the human race

  • 17% admit they would 'have sex with an android'

  • One in ten (10%) expect to see 'RoboCop' style police in 10 years time

Over a third (39%) of Brits worry there will be a time when robots present a danger to humans and 31% believe that they will soon be replaced in their job by a robot. That's the finding of the 'Almost Human Report' released today, which also reveals 46% are concerned that technology is evolving too quickly and is undermining traditional ways of life.

2,000 members of the British public were quizzed on their attitudes to technology and robots to mark the launch of futuristic TV police drama Almost Human on Watch (Tuesdays, 9pm from 6th May), with the results indicating a growing sense of unease at the advances in technology.


Over a third (35%) of Brits say they are concerned about the use of drones (computer-operated unmanned aircraft) by the military, while 32% have fears about their use for home security and 25% by their use in the retail sector. But many of us also think that the tasks robots are most likely to take over in the near future will focus on the protection of humans. Brits think that jobs ripe for robotic intervention are in the military (45%), space exploration (32%) and policing (10%), as seen in JJ Abram's Almost Human.

The top ten jobs we think robots will take over in the next ten years are:
1. Military / soldiers (45%)

  1. Industry / factory workers and labourers (33%)

  2. Space exploration / astronauts (33%)

  3. Domestic chores / cleaners (23%)

  4. Motoring / chauffeurs and taxi drivers (20%)

  5. Policing / policemen and women (10%)

  6. Transport / train driver, pilots, truckers (8%)

  7. Service industry / shop assistant, customer service, waiters, bartenders (8%)

  8. Sex / sex workers (4%)

  9. Cooking / chefs (3%)

Many also think education will soon be led by androids, with 42% believing teachers could be replaced by robots in the classroom in the future, and over a tenth (11%) stating it could happen in the next 20 years. Our roads could soon by managed by machines as well, with 29% claiming they would prefer a vehicle that drove itself.


17% of Brits are prepared to climb into bed with futuristic sex robots - a concept explored by both Austin Powers outrageous Fembots and the 'sexbots' that feature in Almost Human. 29% admitted they had no problem with the idea of other people having sex with a robot but 41% thought the idea of 'sexbots' was creepy, with a further 14% saying robots should not be used in this way.


Over four in ten (41%) Brits believe that an artificially intelligent robot who can 'think for itself' will be in every UK household within a generation*. More than a quarter (26%) believe that robots, androids or a form of artificial intelligence will be capable of feeling human emotion in the future. Eleven per cent said they would want a robot child, similar to 'David' in blockbuster movie A.I., while nearly a fifth (17%) of pet owners would consider replacing their pet with a robot, as it would be less messy, take less time to look after and it would live forever.


Though many of us worry about the machines taking over in modern society, our reliance on technology such as smartphones and tablets means we spend an increasing amount on tech and gadgets. On average we currently spend £543.61 a year on technology, with men splashing out an average of £316.90 more than women each year.** Nearly a quarter (24%) of Brits said they expected to spend up to 50% more next year than they do currently on tech and gadgets, whilst 8% believe that figure would at least double.

Martin Smith, Professor of Robotics at University of Middlesex and an expert in the field of cybernetics, who oversaw the research to mark the premiere of Almost Human, says:

While many of us worry about the role of technology and machines in modern society, robots are increasingly being developed for important roles that will help protect and improve our lives. As with the android policemen in new TV series 'Almost Human', it is true that robots are being increasingly used for tasks that put human lives at risk a computer-controlled machine can be programmed to approach a terrorist in a suicide vest or clear a building overtaken by gunmen. Though many fear their jobs will be taken over by machines, it is more likely that robots will be used as assistants, and the future workforce could have the benefit of avoiding hazardous and repetitive tasks rather than suffer mass redundancies.

Steve Hornsey, General Manager for Watch, says,

Boffins are getting closer to turning science fiction into science fact and as our survey shows, while there's a fear that robots will take our jobs, people also see the benefit, especially when it comes to dirty or dangerous work. Watch channel's exciting new drama series, Almost Human, sees our hero wrestling with this dilemma in the context of a thrilling vision of the future that makes for uniquely different type of police procedural series.

The survey was commissioned to mark the premiere of new TV series Almost Human, Tuesdays at 9pm on Watch from 6th May.

For further information, please contact:
Claire Howes or Toby Leston - /
Tel: 0208 206 5151
Justine Bower in the UKTV Press Office