Klarna freezes hiring and focuses on artificial intelligence

Elizabeth Smith

The advent of generative Artificial Intelligence has indeed produced a revolution in the tools used on the web, but it has also generated great fears. One of them is that AI can replace humans in many jobs.

As if to ignore these fears, some companies already prefer to make large steps towards AI instead of employees. This is the case of Klarna, which has blocked almost all hiring to await the implementation of AI.

Klarna is only looking for engineers and is blocking all other hires

If today we look at the job advertisements page on the Klarna website, we see a small list with one characteristic in common. Almost all of them concern the engineering sector.

At Klarna today only positions for engineers are kept open. The reason is that the company has effectively blocked almost all hiring for other roles. These are not speculations, but rather well-announced realities.

In fact, the CEO of Klarna, Sebastian Siemiatkowski, spoke about it clearly. “We’re not hiring for anything at the moment except engineers,” he told the Telegraph newspaper.

According to the head of the company, not only will there be no expansions in the staff, but even “There will be a shrinking of the company”. The fear that new layoffs could follow is becoming increasingly clear, because Siemiatkowski’s preference has gone entirely towards artificial intelligence.

The boss waits for AI: so fewer people will be needed

The Telegraph reports a wait-and-see attitude at Klarna. The CEO firmly believes that Artificial Intelligence will allow him to reduce the amount of people employed in the company. And so, instead of hiring people where there is a need, he wants to wait until that job can be done by AI.

Siemiatkowski went on to praise artificial intelligence. The same cannot be said, however, for human work. “Things that used to require a lot of people’s time can now be done much faster, and we need fewer people to do the same thing,” he pointed out.

“The right choice for us is to simply say: let’s not hire now, let’s see how it ends up first”, he continued, referring precisely to how AI will be able to allow him to do all the necessary work, but with fewer employees.

Already 18 months ago, the giant Swedish company laid off thousands of its employees during a “period of deep technological recession”, as witnessed by the Telegraph. And now its CEO gives full trust only to machines. Yet another example of the dangers of Artificial Intelligence, but all because of people’s decisions.

Read also: ChatGPT and AI development, these are the jobs at risk

Klarna already uses artificial intelligence a lot: prospects and risks

Siemiatkowski’s never-concealed satisfaction with AI also derives from the use that is already being made of it in Klarna. We are talking in particular about ChatGPT Enterprise, the premium version of the famous ChatGPT for companies.

ChatGPT Enterprise is currently already being used in the Swedish company, in particular to manage disputes between buyers and sellers: it seems that this system with AI has already saved 60,000 hours a year on the work done by people. Siemiatkowski is now just waiting for a complete integration of the system into the entire Klarna workflow.

The big problem is that taking “tiring” work away from people is not leading to an improvement in their working conditions. A possible prospect for the Swedish giant (the second largest startup in the world) is instead to deprive itself of other employees in the future.

Klarna appears among the companies that, globally, are most oriented towards replacing workers with AI as much as possible, putting the latter at the center of their tasks. In this way, it will be able to cut costs in terms of staff salaries.

As emerges from the CEO’s statements, these attitudes of replacing human workers with AI already seem to be considered perfectly normal in the giants of the sector, but the drift that worries many workers. The hope to stem them is entrusted to the new rules on artificial intelligence that are about to come into force.

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