IBM will stop hiring for jobs that could be performed by an AI
Around 7,800 positions could be impactedBy Rob Thubron 25 comments
A hot potato: It's a case of another day, another example of AI replacing human jobs. Rather than directly causing layoffs, tech giant IBM has confirmed it expects to pause and slow hiring for roles that it believes could be replaced with artificial intelligence at some point in the future.
Speaking to Bloomberg, IBM CEO Arvind Krishna said that hiring in non-customer-facing roles, such as human resources, will be suspended or slowed as AI could automate many tasks performed by these hires.
Around 26,000 people within IBM currently fill the roles Krishna is referencing. He envisions about 30% being replaced by AI and automation over a five-year period. That equates to around 7,800 jobs.
IBM emphasized that no people currently working in these positions will be fired to make way for AI. However, it did say that any roles vacated by attrition won't be filled.
Now read: Could artificial intelligence be about to take over your job?
Like virtually all tech giants, IBM announced job cuts earlier this year in response to the economic downturn and post-pandemic-boom blues. It will be laying off around 5,000 workers in total.
An IBM spokesperson tried to put a positive spin on Krishna's comments, telling Insider that "There is no blanket hiring 'pause' in place. IBM is being deliberate and thoughtful in our hiring with a focus on revenue-generating roles, and we're being very selective when filling jobs that don't directly touch our clients or technology. We are actively hiring for thousands of positions right now."
Any company that publicly announces it is replacing humans with AI is going to find little goodwill from the public – a recent survey found that most people don't want a company AI to do the hiring, firing or promoting, and two-thirds of Americans would not even want to work for an employer that uses an AI recruiter.
The same report found that while most people believe AI will have a major impact on workers over the next two decades, just 28% think it will affect them personally. That may be wishful thinking; Bluefocus Intelligent Communications Group Co, one of China's largest media and public relations firms, said it was planning to replace its external copywriters and graphic designers with generative AI models. Closer to home, Dropbox recently admitted that the recent advancement of AI was mostly to blame for the company's decision to lay off around 500 people.