While the denizens of the global tech sector are putting everything they’ve got into nascent artificial intelligence technologies, including controversial generative AI tools like ChatGPT and Bard, the people working for them have found themselves jobless at the start of the new year. Now, is AI really to blame for this, or is it an oddly timely coincidence?

In a way, AI is one of the reasons why human workers have been handed their pink slips. Many tech firms that announced layoffs at the beginning of 2024 are the same companies that recently announced a massive flood of investments into AI development and related technologies. 

Likewise, several companies also claim that the use of AI to streamline their operations eventually led to redundancies in their workforce – and the number of firms saying so is growing every day.

Falling Axes Everywhere

As of Monday, January 15th, the likes of Amazon and Google have laid off several hundred workers throughout their respective organizations. These layoffs appear to be related to separate announcements from the two tech titans that they have both invested several billion dollars in Anthropic, an AI startup based in San Francisco, CA.

As early as it is in the work week, other companies have also announced the trimming of their manpower components. Unity Software, the gaming developer behind Pokemon Go, declared that it was letting go of 25% of its current workforce. Language app maker Duolingo, on the other hand, is reducing its manpower by 10%, while social media platform Discord is cutting down by 17%.

Corrective Measures

However, AI is not entirely to blame for the recent spate of tech sector firings. Indeed, some experts point out that this is merely a correction on the part of companies that appeared to have overhired at the height of the pandemic.

According to Roger Lee, founder of the site Layoffs.FYI, most companies found themselves bloated by their pandemic hiring spree. The ensuing reduction of pandemic restrictions and the return to business as usual resulted in approximately 262,682 layoffs throughout the IT industry in the United States.