AI reportedly eliminated 3,900 US tech jobs in May alone

AI and ML Jobs

A report released last week found that artificial intelligence took 3,900 tech jobs from the U.S. economy in May alone, supporting critics' concerns about the technology's potential to disrupt people's lives.

Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas claims that its data suggests that about 5% of the 80,000 jobs cut by U.S.-based employers could be attributed to AI, making it the seventh-highest cause of job losses last month. The report is in line with an earlier prediction by Goldman Sachs that 300 million jobs could be lost globally due to AI.

Mid-level technical writing, office administrative support, paralegal work, architecture, engineering, human resources, art and design are all areas likely to be subject to automation. Challenger, Gray & Christmas' report did not provide details or a breakdown of which roles were affected, but technology companies looking to cut costs are turning to AI. A spokesperson said all 3,900 of the jobs affected by AI are in the technology sector.

“AI is evolving rapidly, and the technology industry is adopting it more quickly than other industries,” said Andy Challenger, senior vice president and labor expert at Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Many tech companies are cutting costs and laying off staff.“Technical workers who could be replaced by AI will need to strengthen their skill sets or take on high-profile projects.”

He said other workers in more “repetitive or predictable” roles, such as data entry or customer service representatives, will likely have more time before companies try to adopt AI at scale.

Worrying trends

IBM CEO Arvind Krishna drew public attention last month when he told Bloomberg that the company plans to cut up to 30% of its workforce (7,800 jobs) over the next five years to make way for AI, including back-office jobs such as human resources and non-client-facing roles.

The report came on the heels of several high-profile efforts to raise awareness about the potential for AI to harm humanity. Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI (the developer of ChatGPT), went before lawmakers to make the case for government intervention in the field. In the weeks that followed, a number of prominent tech leaders spoke out against the use of AI.A tragic statementHe warned that AI could wipe out humanity.

Some are calling for a calm and restrained response.

David Lewis, CEO of OperationsInc, isn't ready to panic just yet about HR redundancies due to the introduction of AI. “At this stage, it's hard to see it as a legitimate concern,” he says. “We embrace the technology's existence as a tool to help us get more done, rather than a tool that will make us obsolete.” But, he adds, “[Generative AI]is something we need to be concerned about and do our best to think four or five steps ahead. I would like to see a balance of views between the people developing the technology and governments providing some oversight.”

During the periodKeynote speech at Rev4 Data Science ConferenceSpeaking in New York last week, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson said it was important to bring calm to the debate about AI. “I don't think that AI is in any special position to end civilization compared to other powerful tools,” he said. He added, “We should fear AI and be careful to monitor our behavior.”

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