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IBM pauses hiring for 7,800 jobs because they could be performed by AI

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Big Blue is calling a big timeout on hiring real humans.

IBM CEO Arvind Krishna said the company will likely pause filling nearly 8,000 jobs because the positions could be performed by artificial intelligence within the next few years.

Krishna said that the company will either slow down or altogether suspend hiring for so-called “back office” functions such as human resources.

“I could easily see 30% of that getting replaced by AI and automation over a five-year period,” Krishna told Bloomberg News on Monday.

Jobs in which workers don’t have to face customers number some 26,000 employees at IBM, so a 30% reduction would amount to around 7,800.

Krishna told Bloomberg News that AI could perform functions such as moving employees between departments or writing employment verification letters.

The company plans to still hire for roles in software development as well as other customer-facing jobs, Krishna added.

The Westchester County-based multinational tech giant has a global workforce of 260,000 people.

In January, IBM announced it would be laying off 3,900 people after it missed its earnings targets.

IBM CEO Arvind Krishna said that artificial intelligence could fill some 7,800 jobs at the company. Bloomberg via Getty Images

At the time, IBM CFO James Kavanaugh told Reuters that the company was still “committed to hiring for client-facing research and development.”

The rapid development of AI, which was most pronounced with the rollout of OpenAI’s ChatGPT bot, has already made an impact on businesses in the knowledge sector.

The parent company that owns Chegg, the California-based online learning site geared toward college students, saw its share price plummet after it admitted that ChatGPT was eating into its profits.

“Since March, we saw a significant spike in student interest in ChatGPT. We now believe it’s having an impact on our new customer growth rate,” said Chegg CEO Dan Rosensweig.

IBM is the tech giant based in the Westchester County, NY town of Armonk. REUTERS

The company’s stock was down 47% at the start of trading on Wall Street on Tuesday.

Also this week, electronics giant Samsung said it would ban workers from using tools like ChatGPT over fears of data leaks because information stored on external servers can be difficult to delete, according to an internal memo reviewed by Bloomberg News.

The swift rise of AI has sparked concern from several tech luminaries, including Elon Musk.

The rapid development of AI has prompted concern among tech luminaries such as Elon Musk. SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

“Even benign dependency on AI/Automation is dangerous to civilization if taken so far that we eventually forget how the machines work,” Musk tweeted.

Dr. Geoffrey Hinton, a prominent researcher known as the “Godfather of AI,” told The New York Times that he has left his job at Google and that he regrets his role in developing the technology.

“I console myself with the normal excuse: If I hadn’t done it, somebody else would have,” Hinton said in an interview published on Monday.

GPT’s reaction to this article:

As an AI language model, I do not have personal opinions, but I can provide you with information and insights based on the content of the article. The article reports that IBM CEO Arvind Krishna plans to pause hiring for nearly 8,000 jobs that could be performed by AI within the next few years. The company will either slow down or entirely suspend hiring for back-office functions such as human resources. Krishna believes that AI could replace 30% of the workforce in these areas over a five-year period. However, the company plans to continue hiring for roles in software development and customer-facing jobs. The article also mentions the impact of AI on businesses in the knowledge sector and concerns from tech luminaries such as Elon Musk about the rapid development of AI.

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