WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
If there is no humanity at work then there is no humanity. And even CEO’s can be automated these days, so he should beware.
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Earlier this year, Suumit Shah, a 31-year-old CEO of an Indian e-commerce platform called Dukaan, fired the vast majority of the humans making up his company’s customer service team — and replaced them with an in-house chatbot powered by OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Although he too might need to be cautious about automation as it goes after the CEO’s seat …
Strikingly, Shah is now roasting his former human workers, saying the bot simply does a much better job than they did, and at a fraction of the price.
“It was [a] no-brainer for me to replace the entire team with a bot,” he told the Washington Post, “which is like 100 times smarter, who is instant, and who cost me like 100th of what I used to pay to the support team.”
It’s an unusually brazen approach to replacing human labor with Artificial Intelligence (AI) chatbots, a dystopian future that’s seemingly creeping ever closer as other companies such as BT and IBM follow the same path. Instead of making vague promises about AI changing how we work, as many AI purveyors have, Shah has chosen the scorched Earth approach — and it’s entirely possible other entrepreneurs will follow suit, if they haven’t already.
Ever since AI chatbots exploded onto the scene late last year companies have increasingly been looking for ways to cut costs using the tech. That could come down hard on call centers, as WaPo points out. Parts of the world, particularly India and the Philippines, could soon be hit with a tidal wave of job losses as companies turn to chatbots instead of human workers.
“You will end up seeing a lot of jobs be eviscerated,” Sharad Sharma, co-founder of the non-profit iSPIRT Foundation, told the newspaper. “And the fewer jobs that will remain will be different kinds of jobs.”
Earlier this year, Filipino senator Imee Marcos warned in a statement that “AI is developing faster than most people can comprehend and is threatening to take away jobs and turn employment growth upside down.”
Meanwhile, Shah is sticking to his guns and has since developed a new product designed to help other companies transition to using chatbots instead of humans.
Reckless evisceration of human livelihoods — or a meaningful boost to productivity? Unless we figure out a way for displaced workers to survive, the future isn’t looking bright for some.