Looks like AI is taking jobs

Pause now, hire later

Klarna CEO stood next to billboard with company logo

Klarna CEO: Sebastian Siemiatowski

Sebastian Siemiatkowski was just 23 when he founded Klarna in 2005. The “Buy Now, Pay Later” brand has revolutionised how we check out online. His company has encouraged millions of purchases for items people could often otherwise not afford on the day.

While we could dive into how problematic it might be to convince an entire generation of younger shoppers to buy now and pay later — today, let’s look at some equally debate-worthy news from the company.

This week, Sebastian (now 41) told The Telegraph that Klarna is freezing hiring and planning to shrink its workforce. He’s betting that more jobs will be carried out by AI in the future. Klarna will continue to hire engineers but is waiting to see how AI improves before hiring new staff for other roles.

Klarna has more than 5,000 staff members, is one of the largest technology companies in Europe, and is gearing up for an IPO.

In a phone call with Vice Motherboard, Klarna said they were taking a “wait-and-see approach” to hiring. They plan to find additional AI “efficiencies” before revisiting what their “real people requirements are.”

Klarna recently began using AI to handle disputes between buyers and sellers. A spokesperson said their AI customer support has saved the company 60,000 hours annually. Those disputes are getting resolved much faster, too.

We’ve been writing about artificial intelligence for a while here at Subscribe to AI. Our mission has been to tell human stories from this weird world of artificial intelligence. That’s why we decided not to share the details of the recent coup that took place at OpenAI (AI’s leading AI company). We prefer to zoom in and tell individual stories about real everyday people.

We don't believe AI will take over everyone’s jobs any time soon.

In general, there's a rhythm to society that will slow down the transition towards a society which fully embraces artificial intelligence.

This being said — a huge firm like Klarna deciding to freeze hiring could be the start of the tides changing for this aspect of the industry. We all know that AI will likely replace a great deal of jobs, but the idea that firms might pause hiring and take a wait-and-see approach took us by surprise.

Data commissioned by the UK’s Department of Education took a look at how likely different occupations are to be replaced by AI in the future.

The results are important and a signal towards how different society could become in our lifetimes alone.

The occupations least likely to get replaced by artificial intelligence are roofers, plasterers, cleaners, bar staff and hospital porters. In fact, almost all of the occupations least likely to get replaced involve manual labour, and many happen to be low-paid jobs in today's society.

It’ll be interesting to see if the only jobs carried out by humans and not AI in the future will get paid better.

Among the list of least likely to get replaced were jobs that relied heavily on physical ability, like professional athletes, dancers, and choreographers.

At the opposite end? The occupations most likely to get replaced by artificial intelligence included financial managers, accountants, psychologists, analysts, and legal professionals. Surprisingly enough — the jobs most at risk of vanishing actually get paid quite well today.

Writers like us were quite high on the list, too. It’s going to get harder and harder to convince you that two real humans write this newsletter every week.

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