Indian CEO chooses AI over human staff


BENGALARU: Dukaan, an Indian E-commerce startup, has laid off 90 per cent of its customer support team for an Artificial Intelligence (AI) chatbot.

In a series of tweets, the founder and CEO Suumit Shah said that following the decision, customer support costs were reduced by 85 per cent while resolution time decreased from over two hours to just three minutes.

He said the layoffs were a tough but necessary decision.

“Given the state of the economy, start-ups are prioritising ‘profitability’ over striving to become ‘unicorns’, and so are we,” he wrote.

Shah added that customer support had been a struggle for the firm for a long time and that he was looking for a fix.

The solution was an AI platform built into their website, so that all of Dukaan’s customers could have their own AI assistant. He said that the bot was responding to all kinds of questions with speed and accuracy.

The decision received widespread criticism and was hotly debated online.

A top commenter wrote, “as expected, didn’t find any mention about the 90% staff that were laid off. What assistance were they provided?”

“He is not running an NGO. If he sees improvement with it, he should do it!” another person tweeted.

In recent years generative AI tools like ChatGPT have become more accessible, allowing organisations to increase productivity while cutting costs. This has made some workers fearful about losing their jobs to technology.

 

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