India, home to more than 5 million programmers, could be hit hardest if the technology behind ChatGPT cuts jobs in the industry, writes Bloomberg.

Traditionally, India’s outsourcing firms were so hungry for talent that they didn’t even mind if an engineer’s background was in chemicals or mining. Training people through in-house coding drills was routine. Fresh-faced recruits are still highly valued in the sector, which builds software systems for global customers like Wall Street banks, Silicon Valley tech titans, and the world’s largest airlines and retailers. But this may not always be the case.

Tata Consultancy Services, India’s (and Asia’s) largest outsourcing provider, has made 46,000 offers to clients this year, according to its chief operating officer N. Ganapathy Subramaniam. However, the firm failed to meet profit forecasts last week. One of the reasons is that generative artificial intelligence and ChatGPT dominate every customer conversation today.

According to Gurnani, CEO of Tech Mahindra and a 40-year veteran of the IT services industry, change is fast approaching due to the advancement of artificial intelligence. During a guest lecture at the Indian Institute of Technology, he saw students concerned about the impact of AI on their future employment prospects. Gurnani urged them to be alert, as the question is not whether AI will take over existing jobs, but how quickly it will catalyze the creation of new jobs and opportunities while displacing old roles.

Professor Y Narahari, who teaches programming at the Indian Institute of Science, the country’s premier engineering school, offers a different perspective. His students are not worried about the advent of artificial intelligence, as they will likely develop systems to compete with OpenAI’s GPT models, or be hired by OpenAI itself because of their skills. But the tens of thousands of other software engineers who don’t have degrees from such elite institutions have reason to worry, as more automated AI-powered systems loom on the horizon to reduce routine coding work.