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We published this story on Yahoo en Español in January 2023. We showed it back to our users because it was one of the most viewed and commented on our site throughout the year.

During the last great crisis, in 2008, mass layoffs were decided by the bosses. Now, in 2023, with a possible recession knocking on the door, the next wave of forced sick leave will likely be chosen by algorithm. Yes, a computer program will be able to choose who stays at work and who leaves. People will simply follow your orders.

According to a recent Capterra survey, a whopping 98% of HR managers say they will rely at least in part on computer programs or algorithms to decide who to fire in the event of a recession expected in 2023. enterprises, companies for choosing software.

Inevitable layoffs during a recession could be implemented using an algorithm (Getty Creative)Inevitable layoffs during a recession could be implemented using an algorithm (Getty Creative)

Inevitable layoffs during a recession could be implemented using an algorithm (Getty Creative) (Anchali Famaha via Getty Images)

That percentage is higher than the 2% of large companies that turned to big data during the Great Recession of 2007-2009, according to Capterra, a division of technology research giant Gartner. In November, Capterra surveyed 300 HR directors at large companies and some small and midsize companies.

“The HR software market has grown exponentially over the last 15 years,” says Brian Westfall, Principal HR Analyst at Capterra, in an interview with Techxplore. Company managers “rely on systems… to make many decisions, and this extends to the layoff decisions they make.”

HR technology companies say the software eliminates human bias in layoff decisions by quickly calculating a range of employee metrics such as skills, performance and performance, and even predicting the outcome if employees are let go.

But critics say algorithms can also make overly simplistic judgments, missing nuances that a human might consider, such as an incompetent boss preventing an employee from performing well.

How do companies deal with layoffs?

35% of HR managers surveyed said they would be driven primarily or exclusively by big data when cutting labor costs. 20% say their decisions will be guided primarily or solely by “gut instinct,” meaning a person will make decisions with little or no computer assistance.

Almost half take a middle approach. 46% of HR professionals say they will trust data and intuition equally.

Technology companies such as Amazon, the parent company of Facebook Meta and Twitter are likely already relying heavily on the software, having laid off tens of thousands of workers in 2022 and early 2023, Westfall says.

Companies turn to these programs not only to figure out who to lay off, but also to decide how to cut labor costs, such as by reducing employees’ hours rather than laying them off, Westfall says.

Companies have increasingly adopted HR software in recent years, and algorithms that help them screen job applicants and decide who to hire have become more common than layoff programs, Westfall says.

Layoffs due to artificial intelligence

Technology will not only lead to immediate layoffs of people, but will already cause many people to lose their jobs. Google is the latest company to announce major job cuts as it focuses on artificial intelligence.

In a blog post Friday titled “The Tough Decision to Prepare for the Future,” Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google parent company Alphabet, announced that the company was cutting approximately 12,000 positions to better capitalize on Google’s “early investments in artificial intelligence” and realize ” The significant opportunities available to us through artificial intelligence across all of our products.” According to Pichai, this will soon include sharing “entirely new experiences for users, developers and businesses.”

Microsoft also announced massive layoffs this week, with CEO Satya Nadella calling artificial intelligence “the next big wave in computing” and declaring the need to “continuously deliver results while investing in our long-term capabilities.”

The New York Times reported that Microsoft is considering investing another $10 billion in its company OpenAI, known for creating the ChatGPT communication robot. The Times also noted that Microsoft is in the process of acquiring Activision, a gaming platform that Nadella said could play an important role in his artificial intelligence plans.

And we can’t forget Facebook. In November, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that more than 11,000 jobs had been cut as the company shifted resources to its artificial intelligence search engine, its advertising and business platforms, and metaverse projects such as Reality Labs, which is intensively focuses on projects using artificial intelligence.

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