The beginning of a new era ? According to the boss of the computer giant IBM, Arvind Krishna, his company could drastically reduce its payroll in administrative services in the face of major advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and related automation technologies. Sometimes. “It seems to me that 30% (of the 26,000 administrative employees) could easily be replaced by AI and automation over a five-year period,” Arvind Krishna told Bloomberg on Monday (May 1).

The manager therefore plans to freeze recruitment in this department, which represents a fraction of the approximately 260,000 employees of the American group. “There is no general hiring break,” an IBM spokesperson told Agence France-Presse on Tuesday. “IBM has a very thoughtful recruitment policy, focused on revenue-generating positions. We are very selective when it comes to positions that do not directly concern our customers or the technology. We have thousands of vacancies right now,” he added.

Like many tech companies, IBM implemented a social plan this winter. The group is expected to lay off 5,000 employees in all, according to Bloomberg, but has also hired 7,000 people in the first quarter.

Generative AI pioneer OpenAI has demonstrated with its ChatGPT interface and other tools that these new technologies are capable of writing emails, creating websites, generating lines of code, and, in general, perform many repetitive tasks. In March, a study by Goldman Sachs claimed that some 300 million jobs could be replaced by IT automation and AI.