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Google Slashes Hundreds of Jobs as Companies Prioritize AI

Google

Google is reportedly laying off hundreds of workers in its ongoing cost-cutting campaign.

The tech giant plans to cut positions in its voice assistant business, as well as hundreds more among the hardware team behind its Pixel, Nest and Fitbit products, Reuters reported Wednesday (Jan. 10). 

Fitbit co-founders James Park and Eric Friedman will also leave the company, while the bulk of Google’s augmented reality team will lose their jobs, the report said.

“Throughout the second-half of 2023, a number of our teams made changes to become more efficient and work better, and to align their resources to their biggest product priorities. Some teams are continuing to make these kinds of organizational changes, which include some role eliminations globally,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement to Reuters.

The cuts came the same day that Amazon said it was laying off hundreds of employees in its Prime Video and Amazon MGM Studios division. Both companies have undertaken sweeping job cuts since 2022, with Amazon eliminating 27,000 positions, and Google cutting 12,000.

But as the Reuters report notes, Google’s reorganization is happening at a moment when it and rival Microsoft are investing more in the increased adoption of generative artificial intelligence (AI) technology in the wake of ChatGPT’s rising popularity.

As argued here recently, 2024 will be a year in which businesses of across industries turn to AI to capture new efficiencies

The generative AI sector is projected to balloon to $1.3 trillion in the next eight years. Proponents say it will also help workers improve productivity by “optimizing legacy processes,” PYMNTS wrote earlier this week.

However, research here has shown that as the debate over AI’s impact on the working world continues to broaden, many consumers are concerned about the technology’s role in the workplace — and particularly the security of their jobs.

“That’s because the innovation represents a double-edged sword,” that report said.

“AI systems can provide hugely valuable productivity gains in sectors where we don’t have enough humans to do the work, like healthcare and manufacturing, due to labor shortages and declining population growth. But at the same time, consumers are increasingly worried about the impact widespread AI integration could have on their own jobs and livelihood.”

PYMNTS Intelligence has found that 70% of consumers think AI can replace at least some of their professional skill sets, with younger consumers, those making more than $100,000 per year, and office workers showing the greatest awareness of this skill overlap.