News just in! It’s hardly been a day since I published an article about big tech companies firing a massive number of staff. Now, the CEO of Alphabet and Google has announced that it needs to let 12,000 employees go so that the company can survive and thrive in 2023. What’s disconcerting is the mention of AI, which just calls to our fears again of tech replacing humans.
In Sundar Pichai’s communication, he stresses how difficult the decision was for him and other executives at Google and Alphabet. Employees in the United States have already received the devastating email, presenting how they will be compensated for this sudden decision. I’m not sure how comforting it will be, but at least they will be paid for a couple of weeks to give them time to find new work.
As for employees not in the US, Pichai states that Google needs to first establish local laws before they can take the next step. I’m sure the company wants to avoid as many lawsuits as possible, hence this decision.
So, where does artificial intelligence come in? And why is Google suddenly firing so many people? I draw your attention to this line:
“I am confident about the huge opportunity in front of us thanks to the strength of our mission, the value of our products and services, and our early investments in AI.”
My main concern here is that early investment in AI. How this comes across is that Google is now maybe using AI to help manage most of the content or automated work that can be done by the like of GTP-3 or even the upcoming GPT-4. With that in mind, I’m wondering how many of the tech companies firing employees in 2023 already are truly doing so due to a poor economy.
Of course, this is all conjecture on my part. Pichai mentioned that Google and Alphabet evaluated which are the top priority roles they need to keep. For the rest, they now need to make new plans for the future. Let’s hope they can find something in time, especially with so many companies in the industry also letting people go.