A CEO who replaced 90% of his support staff with an AI chatbot says copy-paste jobs are gone


OCTOBER 6, 2023

Jobs that copy-paste responses are no longer safe, says CEO who replaced 90% of his support staff with AI. andresr/Getty Images

  • Jobs that copy-paste responses are a thing of the past because of AI, says ecommerce company CEO Suumit Shah.
  • Shah had previously drawn flak for announcing he replaced 90% of his support staff with a chatbot.
  • Though his post sparked backlash, Shah told Insider, “Over time, everybody will start doing this.”

The CEO of an ecommerce company who drew controversy for announcing he had replaced most of his support staff with a chatbot believes that jobs that rely on copy-pasting are a thing of the past because of AI.

“That job is gone. 100 percent,” Suumit Shah, the CEO of India-based Duukan, told the Washington Post in an interview published Tuesday.

Shah was referring to customer service workers who largely copy-paste responses. However, he qualified his comment by saying that not all customer service workers need to fear replacement.

“It was [a] no-brainer for me to replace the entire team with a bot,” he added, “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.”

Shah made headlines in July for announcing over Twitter that he had laid off 90% of his customer support staff and replaced them with a chatbot he said outperformed them.

“We had to layoff 90% of our support team because of this AI chatbot. Tough? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely,” Shah wrote in his post, which has since been viewed over 2.7 million times on the platform.

His post sparked intense backlash on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, and Reddit, with one user posting: “How not to announce layoffs.”

Another user posted, “Make no mistake. The support team was laid off here because business is failing and funding is dry. Not because of AI.”

Shah told Insider in July that the layoffs occurred in September last year and resulted in 23 of the 26 members of his customer support team losing their jobs. He added that his customer support budget shrank to $100 a month after the layoffs.

Shah told Insider at the time that even though he regretted kicking off a conversation about layoffs on Twitter, he remained firm on his stance.

“AI is taking our jobs,” he said, adding: “Over time, everybody will start doing this. It’s not just us. Maybe I’m just too straightforward to have put it on Twitter.”

The CEO told Insider via email on Friday that the business has grown since July. “Our customer service team is now leaner but far more efficient. As for the budget, let’s just say we’ve reallocated those funds to drive innovation and expansion,” he added.

There’s growing concern over how AI will disrupt jobs. A Goldman Sachs report in May found that around 300 million jobs globally could be disrupted by the technology.

However, not everyone shares Shah’s views.

Tech leaders like Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and IBM CEO Arvind Krishna have previously said they believe AI will create more jobs than it will destroy.

Courtesy: This article originally appeared on Business Insider