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A fresh dawn is breaking over BT - one that tells a tale of transformation and innovation. Or, depending on who you ask, a cut-throat business move that will put thousands of people out of work. 

BT, the telecoms giant, has announced a bold move to cut more than 40% of its global workforce, amounting to as many as 55,000 jobs, by 2030. This decision is set to thrust the company into the future, but it's not without its controversies.

We started our small team based in Preston this year, and began talking with businesses of all kinds - agencies, accountants, law firms and property developers.

The results made it clear to us - since ChatGPT came out, everybody in business is worried about AI sweeping the rug out from under them.

Our vision is to help you scale rapidly while maintaining a lean team, a vision shared by BT as it reinvents itself as a "leaner business."

BT's story begins with a bold pledge to become leaner by making use of the latest AI technologies. The company's plan to reduce its workforce and streamline operations hinges on AI, which will replace roughly 10,000 jobs.

The jobs slated for automation span from call handling to network diagnostics, areas where AI can drastically reduce labour intensity.

Philip Jansen, the BT chief executive, stated, “For a company like BT, there is a huge opportunity to use AI to be more efficient... We will be a huge beneficiary of AI." And while these sentiments may ring alarm bells for some, they resonate with the promise of growth and efficiency for others.

As AI renders teams leaner, we are faced with the prospect of significant job displacement. However, this narrative of technological displacement often misses a crucial aspect: the transformative power of AI in enabling people to live the lives they want and build the businesses they envision.

At AI Leadership Lab, our mission is not to endorse a future dominated by machines at the expense of human roles, but rather, to envision a future where AI becomes a tool that empowers individuals and businesses to explore their passions and interests in ways they could not before.

Take, for example, plumbers and electricians, traditionally seen as hands-on tradespeople. These professionals have become 'knowledge workers' in their own right, harnessing the power of the internet to learn new techniques, troubleshoot complex issues, and provide even better services to their clients. YouTube tutorials and Google are as much a part of their toolkit as spanners and wire cutters.

The burgeoning AI revolution has the potential to redefine the scope of what we consider 'knowledge work'. With AI handling repetitive and mundane tasks, people will have the freedom and time to delve into specialised niches. They can explore new knowledge realms, develop innovative solutions, and in the process, carve out unique roles for themselves. The keyword here is empowerment. Just as the internet has democratised information, AI has the potential to democratize opportunity.

Adopting AI and building leaner teams does not equate to a job crisis. Instead, it opens a world of possibilities for workers to innovate, specialise, and ultimately thrive in an increasingly connected and knowledge-driven economy.

As BT undergoes its transformation, we hope to guide businesses through similar transitions. Our mission? To break down the barriers between businesses and AI, and to foster understanding that leads to effective utilisation of this game-changing technology.

The future of AI is here. It's time to lean into it.

Join us for a free webinar on the 1st June - your chance to ask your AI questions to a team of experts in a live Q&A. Sign up here:

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