Indian startup Dukaan has laid off more than 90% of its customer support staff with AI-powered bots. This move has caused a stir on Twitter after the CEO of Dukaan, Suumit Shah, posted about it on the platform stating that this decision was necessary as it has proven to reduce customer support processing times by over two hours and costs by 85%.
Dukaan is known as an e-commerce managing platform that is powered by AI technology. The company was founded in 2020 and has since provided an e-commerce platform for businesses across India. Specifically, the company targets small enterprises in the country.
More on the Layoffs
As AI gains prevalence across the globe, it has now become a growing trend for businesses to implement AI technologies to streamline their operations. This mindset is also shared by Dukaan, as they move towards a more automated workforce for its business.
The tweets shared by Shah detailing the layoffs prompted many media outlets to report the decision. He detailed to CNN that the layoffs were not a new decision as they happened in September, with a total of 23 individuals laid off.
Further, Shah expressed his belief in a future that integrates humans and AI in the workplace. He believes in furthering the development of AI for his business, while also still hiring for other roles in engineering, marketing and sales. This decision to reduce positions that can be automated and continue to hire for other strategic roles is not uncommon, as many businesses are now seen to have made the same decision.
Reactions on Twitter and Beyond
The public on Twitter quickly reacted to the statement made by Shah. Most of the people who interacted with the tweet seem to not be pleased by this decision, specifically mentioning that Shah has shown a “lack of empathy” and being “disrespectful”.
Further, the commentators appeared to be deeply affected by the overall atmosphere of the discussion, considering its direct connection to extensive job cuts.
“I don’t think someone losing their jobs is something to boast about,” tweeted a user in response to Shah’s tweet. This perspective is shared by the majority of responders, and many have taken the decision, as well as the statement on Twitter, as purely for profit and lacking sympathy.
Beyond Dukaan and Twitter, the move to integrate AI further into the workplace is becoming more prevalent. Certainly, Shah is not the first CEO to make this decision – especially compared to bigger companies.
According to AtlasVPN, 42% of professionals believe that AI will eventually replace them in their field of work. This attitude towards AI can be seen as a result of the continuously growing usage of AI tools such as ChatGPT.
While AI tools currently assist with task automation, data collection, analysis, graphic design, and customer support, concerns arise that their capability to swiftly sift through vast amounts of data and generate reports or even written content could render humans obsolete. Despite the benefits AI brings, there is apprehension about its potential to replace human involvement in various roles due to its unparalleled speed and data-processing abilities.