"I could easily see 30 percent of that getting replaced by AI and automation over a five-year period."
It's happening — companies are actually replacing human workers with artificial intelligence.
In an interview with Bloomberg, IBM CEO Arvind Krishna said that tech company is slowing or suspending hiring for any jobs that could possibly be done by AI — including, somehow, human resources and other non-customer-facing roles that amount to roughly 26,000 positions.
"I could easily see 30 percent of that getting replaced by AI and automation over a five-year period," Krishna told the publication, which means that in total, AI could replace up to 7,800 jobs.
Part of this reduction, an IBM spokesperson told Bloomberg, may include not rehiring for any jobs that people vacate in the coming months.
The company currently employs about 260,000 people, and with 10 percent of those jobs being in non-customer service roles, it's unclear what may be on the chopping block next.
Here We Go
News of this AI job replacement scheme comes after IBM announced earlier in 2023 that it would be laying off 3,900 people, though as Bloomberg notes, the company has added about 5,000 jobs in the first quarter of the year as well.
While fears of AI replacing human workers have sykrocketed since OpenAI released its game-changing ChatGPT software last year, this appears to be one of the first times a company has been this straightforward about its plans to do exactly that.
That doesn't, however, mean that this is the first time it's happened.
In April, BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti announced that the company was kiboshing its entire news division — a move that came just a few months after it began publishing AI quizzes and content. While the decision to close the pioneering digital newsroom ostensibly was a financial one, it's nearly impossible to see the move to AI and the closure of BuzzFeed News as unrelated.
As of now, it's unclear how exactly IBM plans to go about replacing human labor with AI, but overall it doesn't bode well.
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