7,800 jobs at IBM could be replaced by AI within years, suggests CEO

International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) is expecting to put a “pause” on hiring for “back-office” roles that could be potentially automated by artificial intelligence (AI) instead.

IBM CEO Arvind Krishna explained in a May 1 interview with Bloomberg that many “back-office” positions such as those in the human resources and accounting departments will likely be the first to be automated by AI.

The IBM boss added he could “easily” see 30% of these positions replaced by AI over a five-year period.

IBM employs 282,000 employees globally according to LinkedIn and according to Bloomberg has around 26,000 non-customer-facing staff — meaning around 7,800 jobs could be handed over to AI.

“I could easily see 30% of that getting replaced by AI and automation over a five-year period.”

According to some reports, AI-based automation has already helped IBM save well over $1 billion in business expenses and maintenance costs.

Among the tasks that may be automated include providing employment verification letters or moving employees between departments.

However, Krishna thinks human resource roles that evaluate workforce composition, measure productivity and other tasks that benefit from human judgement likely won’t be replaced over the next decade.

Many industry pundits remain at crossroads on whether AI actually has the potential to leave humans without work on a mass scale.

Related: 5 high-paying IT jobs that do not require a degree

A recent study found that 62% of Americans think implementing artificial intelligence in the workplace will have a “major impact” on workers within the next 20 years, leaving many employees “wary” and “worried” about what their future holds.

The more tech-savvy employees however feel slightly more secure about their future.

Blockchain developer Salman Arshad recently explained to Cointelegraph that instead of AI coming in to wipe out the developer market, it’ll only serve as a tool to increase efficiency.

“You know what your company wants to do. You can tell ChatGPT, and it can perfectly transform your commands into a smart contract, auditing process, document or white paper.”

“ChatGPT and AI tools are a blessing; they are not our enemies and are not here to end the career of a developer,” he added.

Another blockchain developer, Syed Ghazanfer, explained to Cointelegraph that the combination of human input and ChatGPT offers much more versatility than a complete transition to AI automation.

On the other hand, Dominik Schiener, the founder of the IOTA Foundation, believes that AI will take away employment opportunities from humans but at the same time, AI and robotic process will create new jobs:

“We’ll see more and more humans being forced to pivot to new roles that may look nothing like anything they’ve ever done.”

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