U.S. employers laid off more than 80,000 workers in May, a 20% increase from the previous month and a nearly fourfold increase from a year earlier, according to a report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas on Thursday.
Among them, artificial intelligence caused 3,900 job losses, accounting for about 5% of all unemployed people , becoming the seventh largest reason for layoffs mentioned by employers in May.
The layoffs come as companies relentlessly adopt advanced artificial intelligence technology to automate a range of tasks, including creative work such as writing, as well as administrative and clerical work.
The artificial intelligence industry is expected to grow to more than $1 trillion, driven by major technological advancements that became evident after the launch of OpenAI’s ChatGPT last fall, according to a report by analysts at Bloomberg Intelligence.
The Washington Post reported this week that two copywriters lost their livelihoods because their employers (or clients) thought ChatGPT could get the job done for less. Some outlets, such as CNET, have laid off reporters while using artificial intelligence to write articles and later had to correct plagiarism issues.
Earlier this year, an eating disorder helpline that used chatbots to replace unionized human staff recently had to take the bot offline after it gave people questionable diet advice.
Global Sprout previously reported that in March, investment bank Goldman Sachs predicted in a report that artificial intelligence may eventually replace 300 million full-time jobs worldwide and affect nearly one-fifth of employment, especially for those generally considered immune to automation. White-collar jobs affected have been hit harder, such as administrative and legal professions.
But analysts point out that, like previous technologies that have replaced human workers, generative AI will also create new jobs in a nascent industry that is just getting started.