Mon 05 June 2023:
Artificial intelligence taking people’s jobs is no longer a just threat on the horizon. In May, 3,900 people were laid off due to the technology, a new report has found.
According to the US-based consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas monthly report, employers in the US cited AI as the reason for 3,900 of the layoffs, roughly 4.9 percent of May’s job cuts.
In May, US-based employers announced 80,089 cuts, a 20 percent increase from the 66,995 cuts announced one month prior, plus, it is 287 percent higher than the 20,712 cuts announced in the same month in 2022.
“Consumer confidence is down to a six-month low and job openings are flattening. Companies appear to be putting the brakes on hiring in anticipation of a slowdown,” said Andrew Challenger, a labour expert and Senior Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
Moreover, the report said that companies have announced plans to cut 4,17,500 jobs so far this year, a 315 percent increase from the 1,00,694 cuts announced in the same period last year.
It is the highest January-May total since 2020 when 1,414,828 cuts were recorded.
The technology sector announced the most cuts in May with 22,887, for a total of 136,831 this year, up 2,939 percent from the 4,503 cuts announced in the same period last year.
Retailers announced the second-most cuts in May with 9,053.
Retail has announced 45,168 cuts so far this year, up 942 percent from the 4,335 announced through May 2022, the report said.
The Automotive sector announced 8,308 job cuts last month for a total of 18,017 this year, a 235 percent increase from the 5,380 cuts announced in the same period last year.
Financial firms have announced 36,937 cuts through May, up 320 percent from the 8,788 cuts through the same period in 2022.
According to a recent poll by the software company Krista, the majority of Americans think that ultimately, AI will have an impact on their professions. However, there is a significant difference between the opinions of managers and lower-level employees. Only 11% of managers believe that technology will have a negative impact on their professions, indicating that they are positive about its benefits.
However, lower-level employees are much more likely to be afraid that the technology could harm their careers; in fact, nearly twice as many of them believe that AI will have a negative impact on their professions.
In March, Goldman Sachs predicted that 18% of worldwide work and a fourth of all work tasks in the U.S. and Europe could be automated. The same report found that white-collar jobs, including computer and financial jobs and especially administrative and legal work, are at greater risk than blue-collar ones that require physical labor.
This is because A.I. can automate tasks such as summarizing fund performance reports, writing code, and other high-level tasks that require years for humans to learn. It can immediately access information that people would have to memorize, and can process reams of data in minutes or seconds. With that kind of computing power, some companies find it cheaper and more efficient to enlist A.I. than employ people.
SOURCE: INDEPENDENT PRESS AND NEWS AGENCIES
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