CEO fires 90% of customer support staff because AI chatbot outruns them


July 13, 2023 | 3:22 pm

The CEO of an India-based e-commerce company said it was imperative to lay off 90% of its customer service team because an AI-powered chatbot outclassed them by reducing response times to minutes. they had previously stretched beyond two hours.

Suumit Shah, the 31-year-old founder and CEO of Bangalore-based startup Dukaan, which assists merchants in launching digital storefronts and selling products online, shared the news in a now-viral tweet posted on Monday.

We had to fire 90% of our support team due to this AI chatbot. Difficult? YES. Necessary? Absolutely, he wrote.

He added that technology has bumped response times on Dukaan from one minute and 44 seconds to INSTANT!

Shah also shared that it took the AI ​​chatbot about three minutes to answer customer questions, while his team of humans took more than two hours.

The layoffs have reduced Dukaans’ customer support costs by about 85%, it added.

Suumit Shah, 31, the CEO of Dukaan, said it was imperative to fire 90% of his support team because an AI-powered chatbot outwitted them.
Suumit Shah/Facebook

Shah then concluded the Twitter thread by announcing: PS We are hiring for multiple roles at Dukaan, inviting experts in AI, e-commerce and product design to apply.

However, other Twitter users weren’t convinced that making such drastic cuts in its workforce was the answer to integrating AI.

We’ve lost all empathy, haven’t we? a user he answeredremarking that firing people on Zoom would be so much better than whatever it is.

Shah took to Twitter to share how Dukaans AI chatbot Lina improved customer support response times and costs.

As expected, I found no mention of 90% of staff being fired. What assistance was provided? asked another.

Still another post who garnered more likes than Shah’s post despite having only a fraction of the views, said Shah fired workers because business is failing and funding is dry. Not because of artificial intelligence.

Dude, you’ve turned the lives of 90% of your support team upside down and you’re celebrating it in public. You also probably destroyed your customer support, a tweet said, while still another recommended: How not to announce layoffs.

Shah told Insider the layoffs happened in September, when 23 of his 26 support staff were handed pink slips.

Dukaan now employs 60 people, only three of whom are now on its customer service team, the outlet reported.

Shah said his monthly customer support budget is now just $100.

Leading Dukaan’s AI efforts is Ojasvi Yadav, according to Shah’s Twitter thread, which has been viewed more than 2 million times since it was posted.

This guy leads the pack when it comes to AI, Shah wrote, noting that Yadav built a working demo of an in-house AI chatbot for Dukaan in just one day.

The bot answered nearly every common question about Dukaan instantly and accurately, the CEO said, noting that the answers fell short on account-specific questions like why is my payment pending since 2 days?’

Just 24 hours later, Yasav presented another demo that fixed issues related to specific account questions.

The bot was then named Lina and was integrated into the site.

The Post reached out to Dukaan for comment.

Meanwhile, in the United States, artificial intelligence put nearly 4,000 Americans out of work in May alone.

More than 80,000 jobs were cut in May, according to analyst firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas, which cited market and economic conditions as well as mergers and acquisitions as key factors.

But about 3,900 of those jobs have been lost to AI, the company said.

It was the first time technology was blamed on unemployed workers.

Tech titan Elon Musk has long warned the public about the dangers of artificial intelligence, warning that even a benign addiction to these complex machines can threaten civilization.

In late March, he even signed an open letter calling for a six-month break in training advanced AI models like ChatGPT, arguing that the systems could pose a serious risk to society and humanity.

The message, organized by the non-profit Future of Life Institute funded primarily by the Musk Foundation, was signed by more than 1,000 people and called for an industry-wide pause until proper safety protocols are developed and vetted. by independent experts.

However, not even six months after Musk signed the letter, he launched his own AI model and rival to ChatGPT, a startup dubbed xAI.

Elon Musk launched xAI earlier this week less than six months after urging tech experts to take a six-month break from training advanced AI models.

The reason for launching xAI is to understand the true nature of the universe, said Musk, who also co-founded OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, but later credited the startup for sparking the AI ​​generative frenzy .

Dan Hendrycks, who serves as director of the Center for AI Safety, a nonprofit that aims to reduce the risks posed by technology, will be a consultant to xAI.

The rest of the startup team includes several former engineers and scientists from Google, Microsoft and the Alphabet-owned OpenAI.

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