When Machines Prevail: AI Chatbots Annihilate 90% of Support Staff Positions

The CEO of an Indian startup made a significant change by implementing an AI chatbot, resulting in a reduction of 90% of their support staff. This decision came after the company developed an artificial intelligence-powered chatbot that could efficiently handle customer queries, outperforming human employees in terms of speed.

Summit Shah, the founder and CEO of Dukaan, an e-commerce company based in Bangalore, shared on Twitter that the chatbot, created by one of their data scientists within two days, was able to instantly respond to initial customer queries. In comparison, their human staff took an average of 1 minute and 44 seconds to provide the first response.

According to Shah's tweet, the introduction of the chatbot led to a nearly 98% reduction in the time taken to resolve customer issues. Although the CEO acknowledged that the decision to lay off employees was challenging, he deemed it necessary.

Shah revealed that the company had downsized its workforce by 23 employees in September. He explained that the shift in Dukaan's focus from smaller businesses to consumer-facing brands also contributed to the job cuts since it reduced the need for live chat or calls.

In a tweet, Shah highlighted the current economic situation, with startups prioritizing profitability over aiming to become unicorns (privately held startups valued at $1 billion or more). By implementing the AI chatbot, Dukaan managed to reduce the cost of customer support by approximately 85%. This move addressed long-standing issues such as delayed responses and limited staff availability during critical times.

Despite the layoffs, Dukaan is actively hiring for various roles in engineering, marketing, and sales, as stated on their website.

Shah emphasized his belief in a future where AI and humans collaborate, leveraging each other's strengths. He expressed interest in exploring the use of AI in areas such as graphic design, illustration, and data science.

These developments come amid growing concerns about the impact of AI on job security, highlighted by OpenAI's release of ChatGPT, an AI-powered chatbot, earlier this year. Users have been amazed by ChatGPT's ability to provide detailed and sophisticated responses, raising worries about potential job displacement across various industries.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has warned that low- and middle-skilled jobs, including those in construction, farming, fishing, and forestry, are particularly at risk from AI. However, the OECD report also states that advancements in AI may put professionals in fields such as finance, medicine, and law at unexpected risk of automation.

In summary, Dukaan's CEO made a strategic decision to implement an AI chatbot, resulting in significant workforce reduction. This move has improved response times, reduced costs, and sparked discussions about the future coexistence of AI and human professionals across different industries.


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