In a world where technology is evolving at breakneck speed, Suumit Shah, the CEO of India-based Duukan, is making headlines for a daring move – replacing his entire customer support team with AI. The bold decision, albeit controversial, sheds light on the significant impact of AI on the job market.
Shah minced no words in an interview with Insider, stating, “That job is gone. 100 percent.” He was referring to customer service workers whose tasks primarily involve copy-pasting responses. However, he didn’t apply a one-size-fits-all approach, acknowledging that not all customer service jobs are at risk.
Shah’s justification for the transition to AI was crystal clear. He affirmed, “It was [a] no-brainer for me to replace the entire team with a bot.” He went on to emphasize the superior attributes of AI, describing it as “100 times smarter, instant, and costs me like 100th of what I used to pay to the support team.”
This move wasn’t discreet. In July, Shah took to Twitter to announce that he had laid off 90% of his customer support staff, replacing them with a chatbot that he claimed outperformed human employees. His tweet went viral, garnering over 2.7 million views, but it also ignited fierce backlash on social media platforms like X and Reddit. Critics accused him of mishandling the layoff announcement and questioned the real motive behind the decision.
Shah clarified that the layoffs occurred in September of the previous year, causing 23 out of 26 members of his customer support team to lose their jobs. The aftermath of this transition resulted in a drastically reduced customer support budget, now operating at just $100 per month.
Despite the social media uproar, Shah stood by his decision, reinforcing the message that AI is reshaping the employment landscape. “AI is taking our jobs,” he said, highlighting that this transition was only the beginning and that more companies would follow suit in the future.
Fast forward to the present, and Shah’s business is thriving. He revealed that the customer service team is leaner but notably more efficient. As for the budget, it has been reallocated towards innovation and expansion, signifying the transformative potential of AI in the business world.
This bold move by Shah reflects the growing concern over AI’s disruptive potential in the job market. A Goldman Sachs report from May indicated that nearly 300 million jobs worldwide could be disrupted by this evolving technology.
However, not everyone shares Shah’s perspective. Tech leaders like Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and IBM CEO Arvind Krishna have expressed optimism, believing that AI will create more jobs than it eliminates. This dichotomy of opinions underscores the profound impact AI is having on industries and employment, with a future that holds both challenges and opportunities.