IBM commercial boss warns managers to start using A.I., or risk being replaced. He’s not alone

May 10, 2023, 11:43 AM UTC
Meeting with an AI Robot manager
As A.I. nabs jobs, experts have predicted that management could be the first to shrink.
AndreyPopov—Getty Images

Ever since the launch of ChatGPT, there’s been much chatter about robots taking over the world. 

Even the so-called Godfather of A.I., Geoffrey Hinton, quit his respectable gig at Google to warn society about the danger it faces in the wake of artificial intelligence development—and even says he regrets his life’s work. 

The dystopian picture of the future Hinton paints is bleak, complete with chatbots seeking power and humans becoming as defenseless as frogs

It’s eerily similar to the “end of the human race” that the globally renowned scientist Stephen Hawking predicted years before his own death. 

But for now (and on the less extreme end of the spectrum), the emergence of A.I. poses one very real risk: that it will replace human jobs. 

Experts have predicted that project management and middle management will be the first to fall, and Goldman Sachs estimates that A.I. could replace around 300 million full-time jobs globally.

So for managers fearful of the future of their role, IBM offers some cautionary advice on how to face A.I.  

Work with A.I., not against it

“A.I. may not replace managers, but the managers that use A.I. will replace the managers that do not,” IBM’s chief commercial officer Rob Thomas said during a recent press conference, according to TechCrunch. “It really does change how people work.”

Thomas’ advice for managers to start using A.I. if they want to future-proof their roles rings similar to Yishan Wong’s advice to workers concerned about being replaced by A.I.

Instead of wasting time worrying, Wong told Fortune that workers should look into how to sidestep their careers into A.I. because it doesn’t require “an enormous amount of technical skill.”

“Nontechnical people can build pretty valuable and novel applications on A.I. There’s this enormous amount of leverage that an individual can have,” he added.

Likewise, the economist Richard Baldwin echoed, “A.I. won’t take your job” during a panel at the 2023 World Economic Forum’s Growth Summit. “It’s somebody using A.I. that will take your job.”

Regardless of the job function, he thinks that automation and A.I. will disrupt every single role, and as such, “everyone will need to learn how to deal with it.”

Managers would do well to listen: If they’re worried about the longevity of their role, it may be wise to take up the experts’ advice and start learning how to use A.I. pronto.

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