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Google Layoffs to Boost AI Development CEO Reveals

Last Updated January 18, 2024 12:19 PM
Samantha Dunn
Last Updated January 18, 2024 12:19 PM

         Key Takeaways

  • Google has cut several hundred jobs since January 2023.
  • The recent layoffs were communicated via a company memo.
  • AI continues to be the focus of Google, Microsoft, and other Tech corporations.

Google has revealed further job cuts are to be expected in the coming months as it continues to drive towards extending its AI capabilities.

The internal memo, written by Google CEO Sundar Pichai was titled “2024 priorities and the year ahead” and outlined the “tough choices” that the company would have to make to reach their “ambitious goals”.

Google’s “Annual Tradition”

The update from Google, initially reported by The Verge, revealed there would be further job cuts. Although it is still unclear which teams will be affected by this announcement, Pichai’s memo did note that the upcoming cuts “won’t be at the scale of last year’s reductions” and “will not touch every team”.

The internal memo confirms previous updates from Google that they had plans to cut jobs globally, with the tech corporation previously confirming there would be layoffs across their global teams. a spokesperson  for Google told Reuters that this will include the majority of people in the Augmented Reality (AR) team.

“Throughout 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,” the Google statement read.

Last year Google cut several hundred jobs from across its global teams, accounting for approximately 6% of its workforce .

Disgruntled Tech Employees React

Google employees have reacted to the announcement, with one reported post on Google’s internal meme board receiving mainstream media coverage. The tongue-in-cheek post from a Google employee states: “Thank you, our corporate overlords, for our new annual tradition”.

As Google employees brace for more job cuts, other tech companies have also announced similar measures.

A TikTok  video titled “When you know you’re about to be laid off” went viral after a CloudFlare employee recorded themselves being laid off on January 12th 2024. The video received over 1.37 million views and prompted a response from Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince, who responded on X that the company laid off roughly 40 out of 1,500 workers.

Cloudflare CEO noted in his response that “just because we fire someone, doesn’t mean they’re a bad employee”, highlighting the risks faced by employees isn’t necessarily related to performance.

The Race to AI Will Leave Many Behind

Microsoft, Apple, IBM, and other multinationals join Google in their focus on Artificial Intelligence. Big Tech’s focus on AI has led to layoffs across the board, with a pattern of citing “efficiency” and “priority” to defend layoffs.

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg described 2023 as Meta’s “year of efficiency “, in a company update describing how Meta would be canceling “lower priority projects” as well as announcing restructurings and layoffs.

As Big Tech layoffs continue into 2024, the drive to become leaner and more efficient is an early indication of how the development of AI will impact global employment.

Regulators and industry leaders shared their insights on the impact of AI at the 2024 World Economic Forum in Davos. In a panel  titled 360° on AI Regulations, Arati Prabhakar, the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, described AI as something that “must be managed”.

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