A valid concern that is often brought up in the discourse surrounding AI and automation is the prospect that many jobs could disappear due to being replaced by the new technology. And the latest example of this is the recent news that IBM may include the use of AI and automation in its plans to pause hiring for certain roles within the company.
Bloomberg has reported that among IBM’s plans for a hiring pause for certain “back-office functions,” IBM could replace approximately 7,800 jobs with AI and automation over a span of five years.
In an interview with IBM CEO Arvind Krishna, further details about the hiring pause were also mentioned, including that the hiring pause involves around 26,000 jobs for “non-customer-facing roles” (like human resources) and that 30% of those roles could be replaced by AI. Krishna also noted a few examples of tasks that could be fully automated: the moving of employees between departments and issuing employment verification letters.
If IBM does move forward with replacing 7,800 of its jobs with AI, it would fall in line with a recent report from investment banking company Goldman Sachs. According to the BBC, the report estimated that the “equivalent of 300 million full-time jobs” could be replaced by AI.
The report mentioned that AI could have different effects among industries when it comes to job loss: 46% and 44% of tasks could be automated in administrative and legal jobs, respectively, while only 6% and 4% of tasks for construction and maintenance jobs would be affected by AI. The report also noted that AI, like other technologies, could also bring in new jobs and new occupations.