Amazon customer service workers are afraid that artificial intelligence will replace them – and they are not alone

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Workers across the United States fear they could be replaced by artificial intelligence and a new article about Amazon FortuneJason Del Rey in the film shows what these fears look like up close.

The company says it has laid off more than 100 employees in various customer service departments – although it has been informed by insiders Fortune over 600 roles could have been released. And workers who manage to keep their jobs worry that they are being used to train AI replacements.

The company’s management recently required all customer service representatives to use an internal software tool called AC3 to handle customer complaints, which provides them with a direct dialogue with questions and answers. These agents also noted that when AC3 resolves a refund issue, the final message is to the customer, not the employee. This led Amazon employees to believe that customers could use this technology on their own and solve problems on their own without human assistance.

Said one customer service manager Fortune that when they confronted their boss about this, they confirmed that cloud software was being trained to replace frontline agents. An Amazon representative did not comment on this matter Fortune regarding this manpower issue.

“I spoke to more than a dozen Amazon customer service employees for this article, and many believe it’s a matter of when, not if, they will lose their jobs due to AI. I found it quite telling that Amazon PR chose not to comment on these concerns.”

Amazon’s customer service workers aren’t the only ones who fear they will eventually be replaced by artificial intelligence. “The fear of becoming obsolete” is a growing concern among employees, and for good reason. According to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. from May 2023 to January 2024, approximately 4,600 American workers lost their jobs due to AI. Executives are also well aware of these changes in the labor market – almost half of company leaders in a survey conducted by say that ChatGPT has replaced employees in their companies.

A new report from McKinsey shows that sectors such as customer service are particularly susceptible to disruption from artificial intelligence. Other roles that may be targeted include sales, food service, and manufacturing and manufacturing. Goldman Sachs predicted that AI will automate 300 million roles by 2030, and OpenAI board member Larry Summers says the technology could eventually replace “almost all forms of human work.” Industry giants like IBM have already been open about their AI workforce shift, reducing their human resources workforce from 700 to 50 thanks to technological innovations.

The AI ​​revolution is here and it’s going to be a mess. As they prepare for the changes ahead, companies should allay their employees’ concerns about technology, have open conversations about the ethics of AI, and reassure employees that automated work will have a place for humans in the future.

Emma Burleigh
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