Ford Motor Company is reportedly planning to cut about 10 percent of its global workforce in order to help increase its stock price, sources told The Wall Street Journal. The paper reported on Monday that the company is expected to outline its plan as early as this week. The move is reportedly part of the legendary automaker's move to save $3 billion in 2017. The company has 200,000 employees globally, half work in the U.S. "We remain focused on the three strategic priorities that will create value and drive profitable growth, which include fortifying the profit pillars in our core business, transforming traditionally underperforming areas of our core business and investing aggressively, but prudently, in emerging opportunities," Ford said in a statement to The Journal. "Reducing costs and becoming as lean and efficient as possible also remain part of that work.
Beyond traditional industrial automation and advanced robots, new generations of more capable autonomous systems are appearing in environments ranging from autonomous vehicles on roads to automated check-outs in grocery stores. Much of this progress has been driven by improvements in systems and components, including mechanics, sensors and software. AI has made especially large strides in recent years, as machine-learning algorithms have become more sophisticated and made use of huge increases in computing power and of the exponential growth in data available to train them. Spectacular breakthroughs are making headlines, many involving beyond-human capabilities in computer vision, natural language processing, and complex games such as Go. These technologies are already generating value in various products and services, and companies across sectors use them in an array of processes to personalize product recommendations, find anomalies in production, identify fraudulent transactions, and more.
Don't worry, robots and AI won't take your job: Well, at least not all of it Automation probably won't lead to massive unemployment, but governments will still need to prepare for major upheaval, according to a new study. Until now, automation has gotten a bad rap. In 2013, Oxford professors Carl Frey and Michael Osborne analyzed 702 occupations and declared 69 million US jobs, or 47 percent of the workforce, would be lost. In 2017, CNBC reported that 65 percent of Americans believed other industries would suffer because of automation, but theirs would be unaffected. Despite the doomsaying being flat-out wrong (automation will only eliminate 9 percent of US jobs in 2018 but also create 2 percent more in a new "automation economy"), the demand for automation has never been higher.
Cloud robotics and AI firm CloudMinds is slashing its global workforce, reports Reuters. The SoftBank-backed start-up is laying off around 175-225 employees from its 700-strong workforce in China. Following the layoffs, CloudMinds will remain with only a nominal presence in the US and Japan. The Silicon Valley office will be closed, and a small number of remaining staff will be moved to an office in Irvine, California. The company is reducing its global workforce as it burns through cash after repeated attempts to list on the stock market, said the report.
Today, the average company's workforce is not able to continuously refresh the knowledge and skill levels needed to capitalize on new business opportunities. This situation threatens to worsen over time. Here's a different approach: machine learning and artificial intelligence solutions can proactively offer the workforce an entirely new, future-oriented learning experience across devices and channels--one that is customized, personalized, dynamic and predictive. Business leaders know that thriving in the digital age requires them to take on the disruptive forces changing their industry--with speed, confidence and bold new bets. Nothing less than a similarly bold approach to "new skilling" will prepare the workforce to support continuous innovation and growth.