IBM CEO asserts dire consequences without AI even after plans on hiring freeze for 7,800 jobs

Priya Walia


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IBM CEO Arvind Krishna believes AI will be the game-changer for developed countries dealing with stagnated or shrinking workforces. In an interview with CNBC, he highlighted artificial intelligence’s ability to bolster productivity, arguing that without this technology, we risk eroding the quality of life.

Krishna cited global trends within the demographics; the number of working-age people is decreasing, and a solution is needed. That solution, he argues, lies in AI.

You need to get productivity, otherwise the quality of life is going to fall. And AI, I think, is the only answer we got, he told CNBC.

The current labor market in the US is unusually tight, causing difficulty for companies looking to hire. Krishna suggests that the solution lies with A.I. Its ability to augment the workforce by doing the same work as humans but with fewer resources can help companies maintain their business operations efficiently.

He points out that AI is not a replacement for human employees but rather will work alongside them. However, a recent IBM study maintains that 40% of people around the globe need to reskill within the next few years if they want their jobs to be immune from artificial intelligence technology.

In April, Krishna shared the business’s experiences of incorporating AI into its HR department. The implementation allowed IBM to carry out the same work, which originally needed 700 employees with only 50. This version of operations enabled the workforce to transition from mundane paperwork to more thinking-intensive and creative roles like career counseling and managerial assistance.

While acknowledging that AI will affect the job market, Krishna states that the primary impact will be most visible in white-collar, back-office jobs especially involving routine, manual tasks. He also believes that AI will generate more jobs than it gets rid of.

The CEO announced a temporary hiring freeze for approximately 7,800 roles, viewed as likely substitutable by AI. In a recent CNBC interview, Krishna elaborated on this move, clarifying it’s not a displacement of roles but rather a five-year hiatus on filling these positions.

IBM has a long-standing position at the vanguard of AI development, leading advancements with tools like Watson, a Machine Learning solution tailored for natural language responses.

Although IBM’s early conception of Watson as a universal tool for healthcare and professional services didn’t fully materialize, the tech giant keeps evolving its AI portfolio. With Watsonxai, IBM continues to develop niche tools and makes extensive language models accessible to developers.

Via Fortune