Google Reportedly Replacing Some Human Staff With AI

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The steady march towards AI job automation continues — even at companies pioneering the tech.

According to a new report by The Information, search giant Google is looking to reassign or let go of sales workers whose jobs were automated by the company’s new AI tools.

While it’s unclear how many humans will end up being affected, it’s a clear sign of the times. Earlier this year, Google ushered in a “new era of AI-powered ads.” As part of the initiative, Google is trying to leverage AI tech to “deliver new ad experiences,” including “automatically created assets” that scrape content from existing ads and landing pages.

Some of these ads created by the company’s Performance Max feature can even change in real-time based on click-through rates to maximize visibility, a task that’s labor-intensive for human workers.

According to the Information, a “growing number of advertisers have adopted PMax since,” which has eliminated the “need for some employees who specialized in selling ads for a particular Google service.”

Per the report, almost half of the company’s 30,000-employee ad division was once dedicated to this kind of work.

It’s a notable shift for Google’s business, as advertising makes up a huge chunk of the company’s revenue. By replacing human workers, the company is presumably aiming to increase profit margins by cutting costs.

But at what cost? We’ve already seen several industries being affected by AI-driven job automation. Earlier this year, IBM CEO Arvind Krishna told Bloomberg that the company is slowing or suspending hiring for any jobs that could be done by an AI.

“I could easily see 30 percent of that getting replaced by AI and automation over a five-year period,” Krishna told the publication at the time, which means that in total, AI could replace up to 7,800 jobs.

German tabloid Bild, which is owned by media publisher Axel Springer, similarly announced that it would “unfortunately be parting ways with colleagues who have tasks that in the digital world are performed by AI and/or automated processes,” according to a leaked email obtained by German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine.

Certain low-level jobs in particular are on the chopping block amidst the rise of AI technologies.

“It was [a] no-brainer for me to replace the entire [customer service] team with a bot,” Suumit Shah, a 31-year-old CEO of an Indian e-commerce platform called Dukaan, told the Washington Post in October, “which is like 100 times smarter, who is instant, and who cost me like 100th of what I used to pay to the support team.”

In short, AI is already snatching up jobs left and right — and according to a study by the McKinsey Global Institute, that trend could accelerate faster than anybody expected.

Goldman Sachs found in its research report earlier this year that roughly 300 million jobs could soon be lost due to AI.

More on AI job automation: IBM Replacing 7,800 Human Jobs With AI

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