IBM stops hiring as CEO expects AI to replace 7,800 jobs

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By Webdesk

CEO Arvind Krishna says 30 percent of non-customer-facing positions could be cut in the next five years.

IBM will freeze hiring because it expects about 7,800 jobs to be replaced by artificial intelligence (AI) in the coming years, the tech giant’s CEO said.

In an interview with Bloomberg News, IBM CEO Arvind Krishna said he could “easily see” nearly a third of the company’s non-customer-facing positions being replaced in the next five years.

“These non-customer-facing positions account for about 26,000 employees,” Krishna said in the interview published Tuesday. “I could easily see 30 percent of that being replaced by AI and automation over five years.”

Back-office workers are only a small fraction of IBM’s roughly 260,000 employees, and the company, based in Armonk, New York, has continued to fill positions even after laying off about 5,000 workers in other areas, according to Bloomberg.

IBM did not immediately respond to Al Jazeera’s request for comment. An IBM spokesperson told the AFP there was no general hiring hiatus, but the company was “very selective about filling jobs that don’t directly affect our customers or technology.”

Krishna’s comments come as the rapid advancement of AI power technology, including OpenAI’s ChatGPT, carries the potential for massive disruptions for numerous industries.

Some analysts fear AI could soon lead to mass layoffs, while others argue that the technology’s ability to improve productivity and complement human workers will create jobs and entirely new industries.

On Tuesday, the share price of Chegg, a California-based learning company, plunged nearly 50 percent after CEO Dan Rosensweig acknowledged during an earnings call that ChatGPT had “an impact on our new customer growth.”

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