People in Germany find it difficult to imagine that robots will take over the tasks of skilled workers in many economic and social areas.

In a representative survey by the opinion research institute Yougov on behalf of the Konstanz-based robotics specialist Fruitcore Robotics, the use of robots in the “school, kindergarten and education” sector as well as by the police and the military met with major reservations. Only 3.8 percent of those surveyed believed that robots should take over tasks from professionals in the education sector, while the figure was 6.8 percent for internal and external security.

The greatest acceptance for the use of robots was still in the “warehouse, logistics and transport” sector. Almost every second respondent (48.9 percent) would agree that robots would take over skilled jobs. For the manufacturing sector, approval is still 39.2 percent. In retail and supermarkets, on the other hand, only 22.5 percent are in favor of machines taking over specialist tasks. In the construction and trades sector, too, approval is weak at 21.3 percent, although there is also a major shortage of skilled workers in this area and robots can now be used productively.

Little approval for tasks in public administration

The further away the subject areas are from the core areas of application of robotics in production and logistics, the more difficult it is for the respondents to imagine an active role for robots. When it comes to housekeeping, almost every fifth person (19.3 percent) can do this. For gastronomy, the approval rating is 16.3 percent. According to the respondents, the tasks of civil servants, employees and workers in public administration cannot be performed by a robot. Only 13.2 percent of people in Germany would welcome that.

There are also major reservations when it comes to “support/customer care”, although in practice text robots are often used here or support employees in their work. Only 13 percent of those surveyed would find it okay if the robots were to carry out tasks from specialists take over. And the respondents also prefer to deal with people in hotels or other tourist facilities. Only 9.5 percent support the use of robots in this sector.

The good approval ratings in the areas of production and logistics were not surprising, says Jens Riegger, CEO and co-founder of Fruitcore Robotics. “These are areas in which robots are already widespread today.” But there are also smaller, cheaper models that can be controlled with user-friendly software, so-called “digital robots”. These are also suitable for use outside of the classic areas.