BT is cutting 55,000 jobs. Its CEO says AI could replace 10,000 of those by 2030.
- British telecommunications giant BT said it will cut between 40,000 and 55,000 jobs by 2030.
- The company said the cuts will come from completing construction of its fiber network and AI replacements.
British telecommunications giant BT Group said it's planning to cut as many as 55,000 jobs by 2030 — and at least 10,000 of those jobs could be replaced by some form of artificial intelligence.
BT Group CEO Philip Jansen said on an earnings call that the company will be a "beneficiary of AI — unequivocally," according to CNN. The company employs around 130,000 people.
He said already the company's chatbot named "Amy" can deal with most customer questions. The company's continued experimentation with generative AI, like OpenAI's popular ChatGPT, could lead to new products and services, he said.
The company said it expects artificial intelligence and improved networks that require less maintenance to reduce its need for thousands of full-time customer service employees and third-party contractors. A slide in its earnings presentation shows the company reduced its headcount from 135,000 to 130,000 from 2022 to 2023. It projects that by 2030, it will employ anywhere from 75,000 to 90,000 workers.
Jansen estimated that about 10,000 of the jobs BT will eliminate can be replaced by processes of "digitization and automation," like AI replacements.
Employers inside and out of the private sector have looked for years to incorporate AI elements. For instance, one New Mexico government agency incorporated AI-driven automation processes for years to help with public services, Insider previously reported.
But the surge of interest in generative AI and ChatGPT seems to be enticing more takers recently.
Now there's also a little research indicating how workers, particularly those in customer service, are interacting with such tools. One study about the use of an AI chat program, which involved more than 5,000 customer service representatives at an unidentified Fortune 500 company, found that it increased productivity to varying degrees, depending on who was using it.
Customer service representatives with more expertise didn't really see their productivity increase with the use of such a tool, according to the study. One of the authors of the study, Erik Brynjolfsson, a professor at the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered AI, told Insider those agents saw "close to 0%" increase in productivity.
The tool helped with the productivity of agents who needed more training and experience, according to the study. The program increased average productivity by roughly 14%, according to the study.
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