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Recent Tech Layoffs: Not an AI Takeover According to Alex Kantrowitz

By CNBC Television     Updated Feb 29, 2024

The recent wave of layoffs in the tech industry has sparked debates over the role of AI in job displacement. Alex Kantrowitz of Big Technology weighs in on the matter.

1. Tech Giants Reevaluate Workforce Needs

In the face of economic strain, PayPal is just one of many tech giants making drastic job cuts, slashing around 9% of its workforce to adapt to market pressures.

While the tech heavyweights like Amazon and Google have prospered, they are not immune to these downturns, prompting a wave of 'ongoing pruning' to stay agile in a competitive landscape.

According to Kantrowitz, these layoffs are less about AI and more about companies like PayPal and eBay reorienting in response to slower growth and the need to revamp their business strategies.

2. AI and the Future of Engineering Jobs

Despite layoffs, this is not the moment AI starts replacing engineering roles, especially at places like Google. Instead, it's about finding the right talent to build new AI technologies.

There is a significant shift, as companies are making room for new talent skilled in AI and clearing out managers who might be more versed in legacy technologies but not equipped for the AI revolution.

The narrative that AI is axing jobs doesn't hold water here. The real story is about optimizing organizations so they can innovate faster and embrace emerging AI trends without being held back by outdated skills.

3. Anxiety Around AI Replacing Jobs

Public concern is palpable, with comments expressing fears that AI could be the harbinger of job losses, even suggesting alternatives like learning a trade to stay relevant in the workforce.

There are discussions on whether aggressive cost-cutting measures and shrinking workforces, as seen with Elon Musk's takeover of Twitter, are the new normal or simply an extreme example not to be replicated by other companies.

Questions are raised about the sustainability of the job market itself in the face of AI advancements, with some echoing Andrew Yang's early warnings about the impact of technology on employment.

4. The Debate on CEO Compensation and Business Ethics

As the conversation pivots to issues of leadership and compensation, some comments call for CEOs to take home less in order to retain hardworking employees and foster a company culture worth investing in.

The discourse dives into whether layoffs are a necessary evil for capitalism to thrive, trimming the fat to improve corporate profits, or if such actions signal a deeper problem with corporate culture.

Others scrutinize the tech industry's justifications for layoffs, critiquing Google for replacing full-time employees with contractors and questioning the long-term effects such practices will have on the economy.


This article dissects the reasons behind the current tech industry layoffs and explains why AI is not the primary factor as per Alex Kantrowitz's insights.