AI will not replace skilled people: Tech Mahindra's outgoing CEO

Generative AI technology can create more jobs than it is expected to eliminate, Tech Mahindra's outgoing CEO said, even as its ability to wreck the job market has been discussed widely on social media sites.

"The use cases of Generative AI are still being defined, which means that it has the potential to create more job opportunities in the future. Undoubtedly, the possibilities are just opening, and there is more to come," CP Gurnani told Reuters in an interview.

AI technologies such as OpenAI's ChatGPT and Google's Bard have taken the world by storm in the past year with their uncannily human-like responses and the ability to write everything from novels and poems to complex computer code.

While some top industry executives have discussed the potential loss of around a third of jobs due to the impact of the technology, Gurnani, one of the longest-serving CEOs in the $245-billion Indian information technology sector, insisted that skilled people will not be replaced. He is set to retire on Dec. 19.

"New jobs will also get created. The market will expand," he said, joining the likes of Infosys co-founder NR Narayana Murthy, who has said that coders losing jobs to Gen AI tools such as ChatGPT will "never happen."

Estimates on job losses due to generative AI vary. Recent research from the European Central Bank and the International Labour Organization said there hasn't been significant job loss due to Gen AI-enabled automation so far.

Gurnani also urged young engineers to adapt to the changing world and invest more time in independently learning new skills.

"Infosys or Tech Mahindra setting up learning campuses, those days are over," said Gurnani.

Infosys has one of the world's largest corporate training centres in Mysuru, a city in the southern Indian state of Karnataka.

For Indian IT companies, this could signify a fundamental shift in their operational model. Traditionally, companies hired graduates from campuses and provided training before deploying them on projects.

In October, Infosys revealed plans to abstain from near-term campus recruitments, while cross-town rival Wipro indicated it would engage in campus hiring only after "onboarding" the candidates to whom it had made offers.

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