Layoffs at GE in Niskayuna amid shift to robots, AI
General Electric Co. has laid off an undisclosed number of scientists at its GE Global Research Center in Niskayuna that originates many of the company’s major discoveries.
GE Global Research spokesman Todd Alhart wouldn’t say how many people were laid off Tuesday, but he said that the layoffs were also taking place at some of GE’s research labs worldwide.
Sources with knowledge of the layoffs said that the number was several dozen, while one online estimate pinned the number as high as 160.
GE employs about 2,000 people in Niskayuna, making this the highest concentration of scientists in the region.
“With GE’s transformation to a digital industrial company, we are evolving our research skill set to meet the needs of our customers and industries,” Alhart said. “We are limiting research that is not central to GE’s strategy and investing in key areas such as artificial intelligence, robotics and machine learning. These changes are taking place across our global research centers. This shift is essential to keeping GE at the forefront of innovation and manufacturing into the future.”
GE has made some surprising moves in recent months, laying off staff at its fuel cell start-up in Saratoga County and getting rid of employees in its energy storage business unit in Schenectady.
The company has also invested heavily on software and robotics while focusing on artificial intelligence as it becomes more like IBM and Google than the GE of old. A year ago the company announced several new labs at the Niskayuna research headquarters that align with GE’s new focus.
The company has moved its headquarters from Fairfield, Conn., to Boston as part of that transformation.
By Larry Rulison