Amid widespread concerns about the impact of artificial intelligence on the workforce, IBM CEO Arvind Krishna confirms the company will pause hiring and replace up to 7,800 jobs with AI.

The transition will happen over the coming years, Krishna says in an interview(Opens in a new window) with Bloomberg. The company estimates that up to 30% of non-customer-facing roles could be replaced by automation within five years. Some could come from not replacing roles as employees leave.

IBM CEO Arvind Krishna on May 1, 2023.

IBM CEO Arvind Krishan (Credit: Bloomberg / Contributor / Getty Images)

In January, IBM announced it would cut 3,800 jobs, The New York Times reports(Opens in a new window), or just under half the 7,800 roles it says will now be performed by AI. Layoffs have plagued the tech industry this year, with tens of thousands of employees cut from giants like Meta, Amazon, Twitter, and Microsoft. Roku, Disney, and Electronic Arts (EA) plan to do the same in 2023.

PCMag reached out to IBM for comment, including the job titles most likely to be affected as well as how the company will measure performance of AI “employees” compared with humans who previously filled those roles. We will update this story if the company responds.

For decades, scientists and researchers who have worked closely with AI systems have warned about the technology’s potential to replace human jobs. The launch of ChatGPT in November 2022 seems to have accelerated concerns.

In December, the White House released a report(Opens in a new window) on the impact of AI on the workforce, which says it’s “inevitable that workers in some jobs will be displaced because AI automates rather than augments worker tasks and/or workers no longer have the required skills to do their jobs.

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“These adjustment costs and disruptions were also characteristic of previous technological upheavals, exemplified by the automation of the role of telephone operator. However, because of the rapidity with which AI is evolving, these costs now may be particularly acute,” the report adds.

AI could replace an estimated 300 million jobs worldwide, theBBC reports(Opens in a new window). However, new positions will emerge as well, making the net impact on job creation hard to assess.

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