Can an AI chatbot do the job of 700 people?

  • Swedish fintech company Klarna has said its AI assistant does the work of 700 full-time agents. The chatbot has handled two-thirds of its customer service chats.
  • It’s also reduced repeat inquiries by 25% and can resolve customer errands in less than two minutes
  • Klara’s statement might trigger further fears of job losses, as company announcements on AI replacing human workers keep growing.

Klarna, the Swedish fintech company that provides online financial services, has caused a stir with its recent claim that its AI assistant is capable of doing work equivalent to 700 full-time agents. The statement has raised skepticism among some who recall Klarna laying off an equal number of employees in 2022 due to inflation and economic uncertainty. Additionally, Klarna froze hiring in December citing AI “productivity gains.”

Klarna’s integration of ChatGPT technology

Klarna teamed up with OpenAI last year to integrate ChatGPT technology into a shopping plug-in. The app-based assistant can handle inquiries, refunds, returns, and communicates in over 35 languages, available 24/7.

One month after the AI assistant’s global launch, Klarna reports that it has handled two-thirds of their customer service chats. It has also reduced repeat inquiries by 25% and can resolve customer errands in less than two minutes compared to 11 minutes when done by human agents.

Also read: ChatGPT gets its own key as Microsoft brings AI to Windows 11

Impact of AI on customer service efficiency

Co-founder and CEO, Sebastian Siemiatkowski believes that this AI breakthrough in customer interaction will generate superior experiences for customers, more exciting challenges for employees, and better returns for investors. Klarna expects that it will drive a $40mn investment improvement in 2024.

Also read: France’s Mistral launches Le Chat to challenge ChatGPT

Concerns over job losses amidst AI adoption

While the financial benefits of AI are clear, there are concerns about job losses as companies increasingly embrace automation. Klarna’s announcement has triggered further fears of job losses, and analysts have linked it to Teleperformance’s shares falling by 28%, raising concerns over AI’s impact on the company’s call center business.

The debate over AI’s role in reshaping industries and employment patterns is ongoing, and Klarna’s latest move is likely to fuel further discussion. While AI offers efficiency gains, balancing these with workforce implications remains crucial.

As a result, businesses must examine the ethical and societal considerations surrounding automation, including how they can train and upskill employees in new roles and ensure that there are safety nets for those who may lose their jobs to automation.


Cherry Qiu

Cherry Qiu was an intern reporter at BTW media covering AI. She majored in journalism and has various working experiences.

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