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Benanav Discusses Latest Tech Company Layoffs in TIME Article

January 23, 2023


Aaron Benanav

Aaron Benanav

Microsoft announced massive layoffs last week, stoking people's long-standing fears about the possibility of artificial intelligence (AI) replacing many human jobs. But experts argue the layoffs at Microsoft and other tech companies have more to do with current economic conditions than recent AI breakthroughs.

“Going back 200 years, there have been waves of fears about automation, in which people look at new technologies and get scared that they are going to fully replace human labor,” says Aaron Benanav, senior research associate in the Autonomous Systems Policy Institute and author of “Automation and the Future of Work" (Verso Books, 2022). “And so far, all the predictions have been proven wrong.”

“When interest rates were very low, companies basically had endless money—and investors were telling them to focus on growth, not profitability,” Benanav says. “But because interest rates are rising, there’s a shift from big investors to say, ‘No, now you really have to focus on profitability.’ And the big way to do that is through cuts.”

Read more in the TIME article, “AI Isn’t to Blame for Layoffs at Microsoft and Other Tech Companies.”

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