By one tracker, US firms have announced 4,600 job cuts since May related to artificial intelligence.

United Parcel Service Inc.’s largest layoffs in its 116-year history were made possible, in part, by new technologies including artificial intelligence, CEO Carol Tomé said last week. Citing one example, she said that machine learning allows salespeople to put together proposals without having to ask pricing experts for guidance.

UPS is among a growing number of companies facing an AI two-step of sorts: Showing investors how AI helps do more with less while simultaneously avoiding the fear-mongering that comes with directly linking technology with job cuts. A UPS spokesperson later said AI is not replacing workers, and that executives did not make an explicit connection between AI and the permanent layoffs on the company’s earnings call.

BlackRock Inc. last month said it would dismiss about 600 employees. In a memo to staff, CEO Larry Fink and President Rob Kapito pointed to dramatic industry shifts “and perhaps most profound, new technologies are poised to transform our industry — and every other industry.” While Fink has been outspoken about his belief in AI’s potential to turbocharge productivity, the new tech was not cited as a reason for the cuts. The asset manager still expects to have a larger staff by the end of the year as it expands certain parts of the business, according to the memo.

Experts struggle to get an accurate picture of just how many jobs are being eliminated as AI rapidly advances. Since last May, US companies have announced more than 4,600 jobs cuts in order to free up resources to hire people with AI experience or because the technology replaced tasks, according to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. But that estimate is “certainly undercounting” the true total, Senior Vice President Andrew Challenger said in an interview.

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  • Izzgo
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    63 months ago

    I’m 70 years old. I remember as a school child learning that advanced technology would give us more time off. Maybe instead of a 40 hour work week standard, it would be 35 or even 30. HA! It wasn’t supposed to be UNPAID time off.

  • @[email protected]
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    23 months ago

    Mid-four figure layoffs attributed to AI when the total layoff numbers are more than six-figure, perhaps even seven-figure?

    To add on to that, expect some companies to claim that AI is the reason for not hiring/layoffs when that’s not actually the case - they may be trying to save face when the actual reason is tough economic times/good old fashioned greed.

    I’m not convinced at all by this article.

  • @[email protected]
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    13 months ago

    you still need someone to run the AI

    we demoed an ML powered data analysis tool recently, but you still need someone to feed it training data and understand the difference between stddev and what the tool is doing, read the output and take action in your ERP system in response to it. Or even if you automate the ERP part, you need someone to monitor it to make sure it does what you wanted

  • @EvilEyedPanda
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    13 months ago

    Fuck the people, only profits matter.

    Let them starve, all praise the stonks!