Klarna CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski is betting so big on AI that he’s instituted a hiring freeze.
“There will be a shrinking of the company,” said Siemiatkowski per The Telegraph. “We’re not currently hiring at all, apart from engineers.” Last May, 10 percent of the fintech company’s staff was laid off during a period of economic downturn for the tech industry.
This time, however, Klarna isn’t planning any layoffs. Instead, it is refraining from active recruitment with the expectation that AI can now handle many tasks that were previously performed by humans.
Klarna isn’t the only one replacing jobs with AI
The rise of tools like ChatGPT has created a cloud of fear and uncertainty around job replacement and its industry-disrupting potential. But now, we’re starting to see what widespread automation might look like.
It’s still early days for generative AI, but companies like IBM are already planning hiring freezes or eliminating roles that can be accomplished with AI. Siemiatkowski’s plans to build Klarna’s operations around AI is another instance of businesses opting for the undeniable allure of technological efficiency.
“Things that previously took people a lot of time can be done much faster and much shorter, and we need fewer people to do the same thing,” Siemiatkowski told The Telegraph. “The right thing for us is just to say: ‘let’s not recruit now, let’s see how this plays out.'”
Siemiatkowski didn’t specify which roles might be replace by AI, but said he hopes to build more consumer-facing AI features, making Klarna more of a “personal finance assistant.”