Final yr’s tech layoff spree is not over, with live-streaming website Twitch saying immediately that it is shedding 500 staff, round a 3rd of its workers. The biz is not alone in letting folks go.
Twitch CEO Dan Clancy confirmed the cuts on Wednesday after Bloomberg broke the information the day earlier than, which Clancy described as a disappointing leak and led him to apologize to staff “for all of the nervousness that it prompted.”
Clancy stated Twitch was taking the transfer in a continued bid to adapt the enterprise, efforts which have been ongoing over the previous yr. “It has turn out to be clear that our group remains to be meaningfully bigger than it must be given the scale of our enterprise,” the CEO stated. Which is corp-speak for it thinks it over-hired, like so many different tech companies within the COVID-19 pandemic, and is now swinging the ax.
“For a while now the group has been sized based mostly upon the place we optimistically anticipate our enterprise to be in three or extra years, not the place we’re at immediately,” Clancy continued. “As with many different corporations within the tech house, we are actually sizing our group based mostly upon the present scale of our enterprise and conservative predictions of how we anticipate to develop sooner or later.”
Clancy claimed his platform “stays sturdy,” and stated it had paid out greater than $1 billion to streamers in 2023.
Twitch, which was acquired by Amazon in 2014, was caught up in a few of the mass layoffs on the cloud goliath in 2023, which concerned greater than 27,000 folks shedding their jobs. Twitch minimize 400 positions throughout Amazon’s second layoff spherical of that yr, which befell in March.
As a part of its efforts to ostensibly get prices underneath management, Twitch introduced plans late final yr to shut down companies in South Korea, citing untenable community prices that made it dearer to function underneath Seoul’s laws than in different nations. Companies in Korea will finish late subsequent month, Twitch stated in December.
It is lengthy been recognized that Twitch has trouble turning a revenue; whether or not or not these modifications will assist make it much less of a monetary drag for Amazon stays to be seen.
The layoffs come the identical day that Amazon itself told employees it deliberate to chop a number of hundred roles from its Prime Video and MGM Studios divisions. Mike Hopkins, Amazon’s SVP for Prime Video and Amazon Studios, advised staff in a be aware revealed by the Hollywood Reporter that the transfer was being made to extend investments in worthwhile areas.
Amazon, we be aware, additionally plans to begin serving ads via Prime Video from the top of January except clients pay an additional $3 a month for a brand new ad-free tier.
Duolingo swapping contractors for AI
Language-teaching app Duolingo has confirmed to The Register stories it laid off round 10 p.c of its contract staff on the finish of 2023, a transfer that is been reported as being made to clear the room for extra use of AI in its programs.
Duolingo has made no secret of its love for AI, with considered one of its options, Max, utilizing GPT-4 to generate longer-form conversations for customers. CEO Luis von Ahn additionally described Duolingo’s use of generative AI as “serving to us create new content material dramatically quicker” in a shareholder letter [PDF] late final yr.
Regardless of these strikes, Duolingo tells us it is “not swapping the experience of human specialists for AI.”
The biz stated it steadily offloads contractors as soon as a undertaking is completed or a job is not wanted. The corporate advised us that, whereas a few of its contractors’ work led to 2023, “others have begun new contracts in several capabilities or areas of the corporate.”
“Most contractors are employed for discrete tasks,” a Duolingo consultant advised us, and that “when the work is accomplished, the contract ends.” Duolingo nonetheless has a 40-person studying and curriculum staff that may proceed to design the corporate’s programs, and that course of will not change.
After all, that does not have something to do with the interpretation work and different extra menial duties contractors present, which the corporate was much less particular about. Duolingo did inform us it makes use of AI to “pace up sure duties” like producing sentences for programs, creating lists of acceptable solutions to translation questions and dealing with error reporting – all duties which sound suspiciously like issues people have historically carried out.
“AI is a instrument we’re utilizing to extend productiveness and effectivity, so as to add new content material and enhance our programs shortly in order that we are able to proceed to show to greater ranges of proficiency,” we’re advised.
Then once more, generally totally different PR folks say various things – like what a Duolingo spokesperson advised Bloomberg of the layoffs. “We simply not want as many individuals to do the kind of work a few of these contractors had been doing. A part of that may very well be attributed to AI,” it was reported. ®
Are there any extra layoffs you are conscious of within the IT world? Please do tell us in confidence.