Goldman says AI could replace hundreds of millions of jobs, Disney layoffs affect comms and metaverse divisions

Plus, Elon Musk makes more changes to the Twitter user experience.

Greetings, comms pros! Let’s look at some news stories from this week and see what lessons we can learn from them.

1. Goldman Sachs report states that AI could replace up to 300 million full-time jobs

It’s no secret that people are worried about the impacts AI could have on the long-term prospects of their careers. Now a new Goldman Sachs report claims that nearly a quarter of human-performed tasks could eventually be automated, with millions of jobs being taken over by technology.

According to the BBC:

The only thing I am sure of is that there is no way of knowing how many jobs will be replaced by generative AI,” Carl Benedikt Frey, future of-work director at the Oxford Martin School, Oxford University, told BBC News.

“What ChatGPT does, for example, is allow more people with average writing skills to produce essays and articles. Journalists will therefore face more competition, which would drive down wages, unless we see a very significant increase in the demand for such work.”

This report is understandably concerning for communicators, as writing remains a major part of the job. But as the BBC article goes on to later state, this report should be taken with a grain of salt. While there’s no way to tell exactly how AI will develop in the future, communicators should view it as a tool, not their potential replacement. Learning to harness this developing technology will help the communicators of the future stand out from their peers.

2. Disney layoffs impact communications, metaverse functions

Disney’s previously announced massive layoffs have hit its media and communications divisions. The company’s broadcast news division is slated to let go of 50 staffers, and Jeffrey R. Epstein, Disney’s longtime head of corporate communications, was reported to be among those affected by the job cuts. All told, the company expects to eliminate around 4,000 jobs, with other cuts coming to unfilled positions.

The House of Mouse also shuttered its metaverse division.

According to The Wall Street Journal:

Headed by Mike White, a former Disney consumer-products executive, the (metaverse) division was tasked with finding ways to tell interactive stories in new technological formats using Disney’s extensive library of intellectual property, the people said.

All of the team’s roughly 50 members have lost their jobs, the people said. Mr. White remains at the company, although what his new role will be is unclear.

The job cuts that lie ahead are the continuation of a wider trend of layoffs at major companies, including Google and Microsoft. Meanwhile, the metaverse division being cut offers a reminder that metaverse technology is still early in its development, and isn’t widely adopted to the point where it is fully scalable for enterprise-wide storytelling strategies.

Although there’s lots of time ahead to see how the desire for the metaverse develops, this isn’t an encouraging initial step for communicators who see it as the immediate future.

3. Musk says only paid users will get Twitter’s “For You” tab

Another day, another sweeping change to how Twitter works, thanks to you-know-who.

According to CNN:

Twitter’s “For You” tab, the first screen that users see when they open the app, curates tweets by using an algorithm. That means it can surface tweets from people you don’t follow. Late Monday, Musk said the For You tab will soon only recommend people who pay for the premium Twitter Blue service.

“Starting April 15th, only verified accounts will be eligible to be in For You recommendations,” he announced in a tweet Monday evening. “The is the only realistic way to address advanced AI bot swarms taking over. It is otherwise a hopeless losing battle. Voting in polls will require verification for same reason.”

It seems that at every turn, Elon Musk makes another change to Twitter that no one asked for and that many claim may actually make the platform actively worse. This announcement comes on the heels of another announcement on the removal of legacy verified accounts.

The lesson here remains one that Musk seems to actively reject — be clear and consistent in your communication, and if Elon Musk communicated one way, you might want to do things the opposite way.

4. How about some good news?

Have a great weekend comms all-stars!

Sean Devlin is an editor at Ragan Communications. In his spare time he enjoys Philly sports, a good pint and ’90s trivia night.

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