• Monday, December 11, 2023

Business

AI to hit white-collar jobs more, says IBM chief

By: Pramod Thomas

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI) is going to affect white-collar jobs more than blue-collar ones, the chief of IBM has said.

Arvind Krishna, however, added that white-collar workers doing decision-making, design or collaborative roles will be safe.

In his opinion, only about six per cent of the workforce is at risk due to the advent of AI.

“Now, over five years, are you saying we can’t retrain six per cent of the working public? We need more people in healthcare, elderly care, teaching children, IT and cyber. That demand far exceeds the 6 per cent,” the Indian American chairman and chief executive told The Sunday Times (22) in an interview.

Krishna has been vocal about replacing thousands of IBM’s 26,000 back-office jobs with AI.

According to him, youngsters not suited to doing the Stem (science, technology, engineering, and math) degrees needed to be an AI-programming master of the universe.

Youngsters need to learn the critical thinking skills that will enable them to figure out how to adapt to changing, unpredictable circumstances, which include learning psychology, engineering and history, he added.

On threats from AI, Krishna noted two, “first, to national security – people misusing AI for terrorism, attacks on infrastructure, cyberattacks, and second, misinformation being used to interfere with democracy.”

“I don’t get paranoid. But I do think a lot of those fears are well founded,” he told the paper.

The IBM boss did not appear to be concerned about some fears that AI systems might attain autonomy and pose a threat to humanity.

Krishna said, “It seems quite exaggerated. Could there be an isolated instance of a malfunctioning AI system? Certainly. However, the notion of all AI systems collectively conspiring to eradicate everything with DNA is far-fetched.”

His strategy at IBM was an emphasis on marketing reliable AI software and hybrid cloud solutions to corporate clients.

In the AI domain, IBM has introduced a range of products, known as WatsonX; these are designed to assist organisations in enhancing their operational efficiency while ensuring a safe and error-free customer experience.

On the other hand, IBM’s hybrid cloud initiative is geared towards enabling businesses to leverage a combination of cloud services from various providers along with their in-house data centres, the Sunday Times report said.

IBM has found success in generating revenue by offering consulting services in both AI and hybrid cloud technologies.

Krishna revealed that a senior delegation from IBM will attend the AI Safety summit organised by the government at Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire next month.

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