In the age of firing from jobs -Abu Muaj and MA Jalkifal
What if all the companies are automated and 99.99 per cent employees of the formal economy of the whole world are laid off? Will there be any change in company laws which mandate firms to have a required number of employees to stay registered? If Fortune 500 replaces 99.99 per cent of its total staff with artificial intelligence, robots, personal learning plans etc technologies, where will these laid-off employees end up? Will they resort to reskilling for another job which is also under the threat of being taken over by another technology in the pipeline? What will humanity do if technologies inhumanly replace them? Will the millions of retrenched minions look for the arrival of a savior or Jesus or Imam Mahdi? Whereas companies were built at cost of the employees’ blood, time and contribution and thus inflated the company reserve over the years. Where will the unemployed people go if the manufacturing and service sector employ 1 per cent of the total workforce of the world?
Fortune 500 companies represent two-thirds of the US GDP with $13.7 trillion in revenues, $1.1 trillion in profits, $22.6 trillion in market value, and employ 28.7 million people worldwide. The number of employment is coming down day by day, not the reserve which is kept out of the purview of people. According to Statista, the number of companies was approximately 214 million in the world in 2020.
Employees are consumers too
The employees are consumers too. What they draw in salary is spent for consumption. If there is no or low consumption, what will happen to the manufacturing sector? Will the small number of ‘Wolves of Wall Street’ will only consume the entire amount of goods and services produced by the world? No, it is not possible for the fortunate 1 per cent to consume all goods and services produced by the green planet. What will happen to the farmers’ crops grown for cash? Ok, it is taken for granted that they will consume their own products partly. But what will happen to the extra yields? Seemingly the technology companies, who have fat reserves, are firing en masse on the excuse of recent losses for shorter periods.
The excuses seem to be really lame. There is an eerie similarity to the statements of technological companies like Google, Microsoft, Amazon and other companies who laid off 70,000 of their employees last year. Mainly, if the press releases are to be believed, the big shots of tech firms on Earth with the exception of Apple figured out no one would ever go outside or spend money offline again after the pandemic and their various online businesses would stay just as big as they were during the heights of Covid.
Firms have tens of billions in reserve
Tech companies have tens of billions, often hundreds of billions of dollars, collectively, in reserves. But they do not really use that support operations. When an investor is reading an earnings statement, those reserves are not what they are thinking about, either. One measure people use for measuring tech companies’ investment value is revenue per employee and having hired all this staff during the pandemic, that means revenue per employee has gone down. Software companies like Microsoft should have $500,000 in revenue per employee, or at least a minimum of $300,000.
The theory behind layoffs is that companies have to save their money, even though there is an initial expenditure of millions or maybe billions of dollars in severance. The idea is with fewer salaries, the company’s costs are lower on an ongoing basis. Let us have a look at the layoff spree by companies across the world.
Google announced recently that it planned to cut about 12,000 jobs. Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and parent company Alphabet, confirmed the layoffs in an email sent to Google employees, which was later published in a Google blog post. The firing of employees will reduce the workforce of the company by six per cent. “This will mean saying goodbye to some incredibly talented people we worked hard to hire and have loved working with. I’m deeply sorry for that,” Pichai wrote. “The fact that these changes will impact the lives of Googlers weighs heavily on me, and I take full responsibility for the decisions that led us here.
The job cuts are the company’s largest ever, amounting to about six per cent of its global workforce. Sundar Pichai, the chief executive, said Google had expanded too rapidly during the pandemic, when demand for digital services boomed, and must refocus on products and technology core to its future, like artificial intelligence.
“We hired for a different economic reality than the one we face today,” Pichai said in a note to employees posted on the company’s websites. Alphabet had nearly 187,000 employees at the end of September, up from about 150,000 a year earlier.
Googles joins a list of technology companies that have laid off workers. Meta, Salesforce, Paypal, Shopify, Netflix and Twitter are among others that have announced thousands of job cuts.
After Elon Musk took over twitter he fired twitter CEO Parag Agrawal and some other top executives including legal head Vijaya Gadde. Days later Elon Musk fired 50% of workforce of twitter across the globe without any warning. In India, almost 90 per cent of Twitter employees were fired. It is reported that out of 200 only 20-24 are remaining. The entire communication team has been laid off. Following the mass layoff, Twitter fired nearly 4000 contract workers and then some engineers were asked to leave for questioning Musk. In fact, in one of the instances, Musk fired one engineer publicly on Twitter. A couple of days later, Musk sent an ultimatum email to employees ordering them to be ready for a “hardcore” work culture. The Twitter boss wanted employees to sign the email or leave the company with a three-month pay. Many employees, especially engineers, are unwilling to sign the email. It is reported that around 1200 employees left the organization and now Musk is looking for people in the organization who know coding.
Elon Musk denied claims that Twitter, which he acquired in October 2022, has only 1,300 active employees. Musk tried to defend but did not offer clarity on non-stop working employees who are still on twitter’s payroll. The internal document reportedly indicates that Twitter has approximately 1,400 non-working employees who are “still being paid, but are no longer expected to fulfill their old responsibilities.”
Amazon plans to lay off approximately ten thousand people in corporate and technology jobs starting as soon as this week, people with knowledge of the matter said, in what would be the largest job cuts in the company’s history. The main reason for this is facing a slowdown in sales.
The cuts will focus on Amazon’s devices organization, including the voice assistant Alexa, as well as at its retail division and in human resources, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
The number of layoffs remains fluid and is likely to roll out team by team rather than all at once as each business finishes plans, one person said. But if it stays around 10,000, it would represent roughly 3 per cent of Amazon’s corporate employees and less than 1 per cent of its global workforce of more than 1.5 million, which is primarily composed of hourly workers.
Amazon’s layoffs are likely to be more calculated and won’t necessarily be felt in the company’s upcoming product pipeline but will still put thousands of people in a precarious spot as the global economic slump continues. Should the 10,000 figures prove accurate, it should mark the largest cuts in Amazon’s history.
Professions that may survive the AI scare
Microsoft is reported to invest 10 billion dollars in OpenAI which has invented ChatGPT. ChatGPT was released November 2022 by OpenAI. ChatGPT was created by Mira Murati who is the chief technology officer of OpenAI company. ChatGPT is a natural language processing tool that can create contents, images and even code on demand via conversation with a chatbot . Since it’s release ChatGPT has been used in writing cover letters, creating children’s books and even helping students cheat in their essays. The chatbot may be more powerful than we ever imagined. A research led by Google reveals that the search engine company would hire the chatbot as an entry-level coder if it interviewed at the company.
However, some jobs may be at risk because of ChatGPT.
Technological jobs like coders, computer programmers, software engineers and data analysts.
Coding and computer programming demand skills, but it’s possible that ChatGPT and similar AI tools may fill in some of the gaps in the near future. That’s because AI like ChatGPT is good at crunching numbers with relative accuracy.
In fact, advanced technologies like ChatGPT could produce code faster than humans, which means that work can be completed with fewer employees.
ChatGPT maker, made by OpenAI, is considering replacing the engineers with Artificial Intelligence.
Media jobs like advertising, content creation, technical writing and journalism. Media jobs across the board — including those in advertising, technical writing, journalism, and any role that involves content creation — may be affected by ChatGPT and similar forms of AI. AI is able to read, write and understand text based data very well. Analyzing and interpreting vast amounts of language based data is a skill of an AI. ChatGPT will be able to carry out tasks like reporting and writing more efficiently than humans. The media industry is already beginning to experiment on AI generated content.
According to the World Bank and other sources, there are as many as 85 million teachers, nine million doctors and 50 lakh lawyers in the world. Even if these professions sustain, the sectors will be overrated and there will be hell-bent competition for a small number of jobs. Huge number of people will be scrambling for fewer jobs only to earn bread and butter. In the age of blanket firing from jobs, people will be enslaved. The regimes predictably one regime will make people totally dependent on the single regime. The millions of retrenched people will look for the arrival of a savior or Jesus or Imam Mahdi because they will need a leader to fight against invasion of technologies. March of machines towards annihilating the workless, jobless, enslaved people across the globe will need to be stopped. Hapless uprising or penniless people’s upsurge, certainly with a savior or rightly guided leader at the helm, will be needed to stop robot uprising. In the Christian West, helpless people will be looking for the Second Coming of Jesus. In the Muslim East, humanity in danger will be expecting for Imam Mahdi. Jewish people will be finding for “Messiah”, a Jewish leader of Devidic line, who will save them. Seemingly, with the onslaught of destructive technologies, the prophecies of eschatologists may come true.