Dukaan's Suumit Shah sacks 90% staff, replaces them with AI chatbot; sparks fury on Twitter

The founder of e-commerce company Dukaan, has come under heavy criticism on Twitter as the platform laid off 90 percent of its support staff and replaced it with an AI chatbot.

| Updated on: Jul 11 2023, 16:51 IST
Suumit Shah
In a shocking move, Dukaan’s AI customer service chatbot has replaced the support staff. (Suumit Shah (Twitter))
Suumit Shah
In a shocking move, Dukaan’s AI customer service chatbot has replaced the support staff. (Suumit Shah (Twitter))

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been one of the biggest buzzwords of the year and while developments in the field have made everyday tasks easier, the potential risk to jobs has seemingly increased. As per McKinsey's June 2023 report, AI is expected to automate 60 to 70 percent of employee workloads, and companies are already scrambling to jump on the AI bandwagon. Suumit Shah, the founder of the e-commerce platform Dukaan recently revealed on Twitter that the platform replaced 90 percent of the support staff jobs, and this revelation sparked fury on Twitter.

AI replaces workers

In a Twitter post, Shah revealed that his company laid off 90 percent of its support staff, and replaced them with Dukaan's own AI assistant called Lina, a move that reduced customer support costs by almost 85 percent. Its aftermath? Shah claims that the response time decreased from 1m 44s to instantaneous, while the resolution time went down from over 2 hours to under 4 minutes.

After its success, Shah also revealed that they had introduced a platform called bot9.ai which allows every e-commerce business to create its own AI customer support chatbot. According to Shah, the AI chatbot can, not only answer generic questions, but also user-specific queries.

Twitter's response

This post attracted Twitter's wrath with people decrying its insensitive nature. People also questioned whether the support staff had received any assistance from the company after the layoffs.

A Twitter user @arnob1 asked, “As expected, didn't find any mention about the 90% staff that were laid off. What assistance were they provided?”

In response, Shah wrote, “As expected, 'someone' will get offended on behalf of 'someone else', so I had this reply ready: Assistance ke bare mein jab Linkedin pe post karunga tab dekh lena mere dost, yahaan Twitter pe log "profitability" dekhte hai "sympathy" nahi.”

Another user @_glnarayanan commented, “Dude, You disrupted the lives of 90% of your support team & you're celebrating it in public. You also likely destroyed your customer support (disprove with good CSAT for the bot) - all for a basic ChatGPT wrapper. This is a new low even for you.”

It seems like while people are open to the idea of innovation in AI, they draw a line when it takes over human jobs.

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First Published Date: 11 Jul, 16:51 IST
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