The CEO of IBM says he doesn’t intend to ‘get rid of’ a single programmer because of AI – DAVID RAUDALES


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The CEO of IBM says he doesn’t intend to ‘get rid of’ a single programmer because of AI


Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc and Thiago Prudencio/SOPA Images/LightRocket

IBM CEO Arvind Krishna says he doesn’t intend to “get rid of a single one” of his programmers because of AI.Krishna predicted that programmers would become 30% more productive because of AI.He also added that though AI could automate a “repetitive, white-collar job,” it was a job creator.

Amid growing fears of AI-induced job cuts, IBM’s CEO Arvind Krishna says he doesn’t intend to lose any programmers because of the technology.

Krishna predicted that programmers would become 30% more productive because of AI.

“I don’t intend to get rid of a single one. I’ll get more,” he said about the company’s programmers during Fortune’s CEO Initiative conference on Tuesday.

Krishna further said that his company was increasing the number of software engineering and sales roles in the next three to four years but expected to phase out back-office HR roles.

This meant more jobs were created than lost due to AI, he said, adding: “The increase was like 8,000. The decrease was like 800.”

“The first thing you can automate is a repetitive, white-collar job,” said Krishna. He added that while AI could take over 10 to 20% of “lower level” tasks, it was unlikely to automate away somebody’s entire job.

Krishna previously said his company would halt hiring for certain jobs that could be replaced by AI.

“I could easily see 30% of that getting replaced by AI and automation over a five-year period,” Krishna told Bloomberg in May — a figure that equates to around 7,800 jobs at IBM’s human resources division.

For context, there is growing concern over AI’s impact on jobs. A May report by survey platform Pollfish found that around 8 in 10 US workers surveyed were worried that adopting AI could lead to pay cuts.

In May, Goldman Sachs predicted that over 300 million jobs worldwide could be disrupted by AI, while McKinsey estimated in July that at least 12 million Americans would shift to another field of work by 2030 due to AI.

To be sure, IBM’s CEO is joined by other tech leaders — like Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella — who say that AI won’t be a job destroyer because of productivity boosts from the technology.

Studies have also pointed to AI boosting workers’ productivity but with a greater impact on less skilled workers.

An April study that equipped customer service representatives with AI tools found that the lowest-skilled workers saw a productivity boost of 35% — while higher-skilled workers saw “closer to 0%.”

Meanwhile, a similar study in September, conducted on management consultants, found below-average performers gaining a productivity boost of 43%, while their above-average counterparts only saw a boost of 17%.

IBM and Krishna did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Insider, sent outside regular business hours.

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