28th July 2023

AI anxiety: A fear so important they named it!

AI, Recruitment

Is fear about AI taking over exaggerated by the media?

‘Technophobia’ is a general fear of technology. However, when it comes to artificial intelligence (AI), it seems a little inadequate, so a new term has been adopted specifically to cover the fear of artificial intelligence: ‘AI anxiety’.

If we really think about it, the most serious threat is not from AI acting to the detriment of humanity; at the current time, it is the wilful misuse of AI by other humans. The focus in developing AI sensibly should be to do it responsibly and ethically. This issue is central to the future of the jobs market and the recruitment sector.

With evermore powerful AI RecTech tools on the drawing board, ensuring fairness throughout the search and selection process remains central to promoting confidence in the technology, especially amongst candidates.

To some, the overemphasis on the negative aspects of AI in the media exaggerates the problem and fuels AI anxiety. Perhaps for some owners and principals of recruitment businesses, the worst aspect of AI anxiety would be being left behind as competitors surge ahead.

What are the key problems of AI?

AI anxiety stems from these key problems that characterise applications built on generative AI technologies, including large language models (LLM) that generate text such as ChatGPT, or multimodal foundation models (MfM) for applications that can output text, audio, or images.

Developments continue despite AI anxiety

Despite these shortcomings that have been widely observed, advances and growth continue unabated. The latest developments across the major industrialised regions worldwide include:

North America

The general disquiet about employment and the job market is clearly evident in the US at the moment. The current strike by Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) and WGA members in the US, the unions that represent the writers and actors in the US entertainment sector, is seen by many as a pivotal moment.

The threat from AI is significant. However, it’s not the AI misbehaving; it seems to be humans being opportunistic! The issue revolves around large companies that control the sector making more money by disenfranchising members of the writing and acting communities by limiting their ability to make a regular income from their contribution to filmed and recorded material.

This echoes the general sentiments from the creative sector globally about the use of AI to stylistically mimic creative outputs without any recompense to the originating creators.


APAC is perhaps the most exciting global region for the development of AI. The majority of the world’s population resides within its bounds, as do some of the most technologically advanced nations, such as Japan, Singapore and South Korea, as well as the manufacturing powerhouse that is China.

Technology consultancy IDC looked at key areas of AI business use cases, such as AI-enabled customer service, predictive sales process optimisation, automation and fraud detection. The spend for 2026 across APAC is estimated to reach 49 billion USD, by China, Australia, India and South Korea, in descending order of spend.

However, amidst this outlook for growth, fear is playing a major role. To address this, by starting with a public consultation paper, Australia is taking steps to tackle fears about the risks from AI that are outlined above.

Despite being positioned as a consultation, the paper’s content seems to frame the likely outcome of the exercise. The paper says that many of the risks associated with AI can be covered by existing regulations. It goes on to suggest that once regulators have identified any gaps within their existing powers, changes will be needed to close them.


Europe dominates and leads AI activity in EMEA, however, nations such as Israel have highly advanced and in some cases, world-leading companies in certain fields of technology. While the EU as a bloc is a world leader in legislating with the AI Act, other EMEA nations that sit outside of the organisation are acting independently (or not, as the case may be).

For some observers that’s the UK’s position. According to the TUC, (Trades Union Congress), a national federation of trade unions in England and Wales, that represent some 5.5 million workers, the UK is falling behind in protecting workers from artificial intelligence (AI).

While businesses are already exploiting or planning to leverage the potential of AI to drive innovation, productivity and improve customer service, union leaders are deeply concerned. Unions say that UK employment law is not keeping pace with the AI revolution and a lack of specific legislation, like the EU’s AI Act, which regulates use of the technology in hiring, firing and setting work conditions, means the UK is being left behind.

Ultimately, AI needs to be used responsibly and ethically. There are both legitimate concerns and overblown fears about AI, and it is important to get the balance right.

Avoid getting left behind by RecTech with ETZ

The automation features of ETZ RecTech tools promote efficiency and have paved the way for the emergence of sophisticated AI NLP search and selection tools that are emerging to power the front side of agency operations.

ETZ’s leading timesheet and invoicing solution, streamlines the back office processing of your recruitment agency. Our complementary solutions, ETZ Comply for onboarding and document management, and Caspian for business intelligence give agencies further capability to streamline and uncover opportunities. To find out more call us on 0800 311 2266 or book a demo.

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