back to article Out with the old, in with the new – Accenture declares AI is 'mature and delivers value'

Tech consulting giant Accenture will invest $3 billion over three years to grow its AI workforce to 80,000 people after it axed 19,000 jobs in March this year. Chair and CEO Julie Sweet wrote in a Tuesday announcement that the investment is needed because "Companies that build a strong foundation of AI by adopting and scaling …

  1. nematoad Silver badge
    Happy

    Nice one.

    "...a round of layoffs that mostly affected staff working in HR, finance, and legal."

    Now that's what I call a good start!

    1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: Nice one.

      AI hallucinated accounting. (AIHA) What can be wrong with that?

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Nice one.

      It's largely body leasing to customers, which fluctuations, with completely bullshit explanations are standard.

  2. Little Mouse

    Which flavour of AI are they talking about here? There are some exciting potential uses for AI, but when I hear that the driver is just to lay people off, then I can only assume that the kind of AI being discussed is not one that helps a company "do better". E.g. using LLMs for chatbots and web content.

    Bland homogenisation, dumbing-down and clickbait will be the new normal - because it will be easier, and a lot cheaper, than paying people to generate truly original content. The only on-line publications that will survive this sea-change are those that fill a targeted niche, and are really good at what they do.

    So it's really concerning to see sites go down this road voluntarily, before AI has even got a toe in, when what they really need to do is make the best of what makes them different.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Translation

    The consultants in Accenture have been smoking their own joss sticks again.

    I have the misfortune to have to deal with Accentures procurement team for a particular service vertical. They are nice poeple but the utter bullshit about the industry they spout because they've been drinking the consulting arms koolaid you would not believe.

    1. Howard Sway Silver badge

      Re: Translation

      No, it's simply "people are buying it, so we're going to start selling it".

      Doesn't matter what "it" actually involves, but just get those consultants recruited and start flogging them to big corporates who will shell out for something branded as "expert advice on the new fashionable thing" pushed by a big consultancy.

      Having dealt with their like for far too many years in the past, I can guarantee that the consultants are going to come in with shiny documents and powerpoints, give the impression of focused activity, and then conclude "we think that you should add an AI powered customer service chatbot to your website". And they'll charge you a hundred grand for that.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Translation

      "you would not believe"

      Most here certainly wouldn't.

      The fact that this sort of business continues to be profitable is bad news because it means that decision makers who really ought to know better obviously do.

  4. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

    Sources

    Accenture nonetheless thinks the time is now to double the headcount for its Data & AI unit.

    Was Accenture's decision to do this based on a report generated by AI?

    1. Helcat

      Re: Sources

      Yes. So was the information on how AI is 'mature'.

      Shame they didn't fact check the AI...

    2. steviebuk Silver badge

      Re: Sources

      Anyone have shares in them, sell them now. She'll tank the company. Considering how confidently wrong the likes of ChatGPT are she'll find out when its too late. It will have already sent nukes to Russia who'll send some back.

      "There is no fate but what we make"

      "Da da daaaaaaa, da....da dahhhhhh....da....da daaaaa........."

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Same as the old boss

    "regularly producing inaccurate output", isn't that what Accenture does now? So more of the same then? Help me out here....

    1. ryokeken

      Re: Same as the old boss

      not now, always LOL hence why they had to change their name from Andersen consulting, it's sister company Arthur Andersen disappeared inside delloite because none wanted anything to do with the companies that vouched for ENRON

  6. FILE_ID.DIZ
    Thumb Down

    In Crisis mode?

    There was a Bloomberg interview of Julie Sweet published in October 2021.

    I'm going to snipe https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwTkqYG7N3k&t=256s this great quote where she says that they (Accenture) doesn't take on clients in "Crisis Mode" who aren't willing to set aggressive goals (gaol for employees?).

    Perhaps she was ultimately referring to "AI" (Really, machine learning, but who's counting). And yes, if you continue on that video she talks about their profit motive with their engagements a few seconds later, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwTkqYG7N3k&t=310s

    1. Nifty

      Re: In Crisis mode?

      I actually learned something there. That links to time points in a YouTube video are possible!

  7. Sir Sham Cad

    Choo Choo

    Accenture riding the AI hype train for short term profits (as is their habit) until they run it off the track.

  8. TimMaher Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Accenture

    Those of us who are old enough may remember Arthur Andersen and Andersen Consulting.

    That didn’t end well.

    And so, Accenture was born.

  9. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Last time I looked Accenture were administering one of my pensions. "Our AI advised us to invest the scheme funds in crypto-currency and NFT futures" is not something I want to hear.

  10. Mike 137 Silver badge

    "after ejecting 19,000 accountants and HR types"

    I can't robustly comment on replacing HR types with "AI", but in the case of accountants, the issue is perfectly clear. A fully qualified (Chartered in the UK) accountant bears personal responsibility for the accuracy of their results. Personal responsibility is an attribute entirely (and probably permanently) foreign to any "artificial intelligence" system as, having no actual understanding, it can not objectively attest to its own accuracy and can not be subject to any sanction in case of error.

    No automaton has any such thing as a sense of responsibility, so, depending of course on current human performance standards, even HR might well go badly if handed over to AI.

    The whole current "AI" hype reminds me of the rush to adopt radium for every purpose under the sun (including 'health giving' jock strap inserts) at the start of the 20th century.1 The only real difference is of degree -- aggressive adoption of AI where inappropriate is likely to harm many more people.

    Lucy Jane Santos, Half Lives, London, Icon Books 2020.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Translation: we see a new cash cow.

  12. druck Silver badge

    Quick!

    Hire some more snake oil salesmen

  13. Robert Moore
    Thumb Up

    Accenture declares AI is 'mature and delivers value'

    Two things we know for certain now.

    AI is NOT mature, and is worthless.

    Thanks Accenture.

  14. Binraider Silver badge

    I believe the phrase SELL SELL SELL when it comes to Accenture shares comes to mind.

    This post is not financial advice. Or is it?

  15. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

    How in the world after all their failures, they arent hard to find just search Accenture and Scandal or similar words, are these people still hired.THey only deliver shite that doesnt work and is always over budget.

  16. cookieMonster Silver badge
    Trollface

    I can see it now…

    Bright young things arriving at client’s offices clutching “Teach yourself AI in 21 days”

  17. Sparkus

    Look, Squirrel!

    Company motto of both Accenture and Atos.......

  18. Zippy´s Sausage Factory
    Devil

    "the corporation slashed 19,000 jobs in a round of layoffs that mostly affected staff working in HR, finance, and legal."

    Any bets on headlines next year saying "Accenture's demise was hastened by losing a series of legal cases, employment tribunals, and investigations for financial fraud. Accenture has, in turn, decided to sue the makers of AI systems..."

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