Billionaire tech CEO Siebel predicts higher permanent unemployment from technology

Tom Siebel speaking at the 2017 Delivering Alpha conference in New York on Sept. 12, 2017.

Billionaire technology CEO Tom Siebel foresees even more ethical problems—including widespread job losses—if companies continue to evolve with big data.

CNBC’s Mike Santoli spoke with Siebel in an exclusive interview for CNBC PRO  on the sidelines of the Delivering Alpha conference in New York in September. Santoli asked the big data CEO about his outlook for the industry and its impact on the current labor force.

“Ethical issues that are very problematic are the implications for the job market…ever since the invention of the mechanical loom at the beginning of the nineteenth century, we’ve been using technology to replace jobs,” he said. “The net effect though—there will be unemployment, jobs will be eliminated. The idea that we’re going to train taxi drivers in New York City to be data scientists: I’m not buying it.”

Siebel is the Chairman and CEO of C3 IoT, a fast-growing computer software company that provides a platform for corporations to develop big data operations, predictive analytics, artificial intelligence, and internet-of-things applications.

“Let’s think about health care where we can do predictive analytics. We’re going to be able to predict disease with very, very high levels of precision: The onset of diabetes, heart disease, different forms of cancer, whatever it may be,” said Siebel. “Soon we will have in these datasets the genome sequence for the population of the United States and insurance companies and the people dealing with these data will know things about these patients that, candidly, patients don’t want to know.”

To be sure, Siebel noted that companies must advance with the help of big data, an area he has been working in for years. As founder of Siebel Systems, he built the foundation of the customer relationship management market.

“You know, many of these companies that do not make this transition to this new kind of generation of what’s going on – candidly, they’re going to be out of business,” said Siebel.