Amazon customer service workers are scared AI will replace them—and they’re not alone

Workers across the United States are worried that they could be replaced by artificial intelligence (AI). A recent feature story from Fortune's Jason Del Rey sheds light on these fears at Amazon.

The company has reportedly laid off over 100 workers in various customer service departments, although insider sources suggest the number could be as high as 600 roles. Even those who have kept their jobs are concerned that they are being used to train their AI replacements.

Amazon has required all customer service employees to use an internal software tool called AC3 to resolve customer complaints. This tool provides a direct question-and-answer dialogue for the agents to follow. Employees have noticed that when AC3 resolves a refund issue, the final message addresses the customer directly, leading them to believe the technology is meant for customers to use independently, without human assistance.

One customer service manager confirmed to Fortune that the cloud software is being trained to replace the frontline agents. However, an Amazon representative did not provide a comment on these workforce concerns.

Amazon's customer service workers are not the only ones worried about being replaced by AI. "Fear of becoming obsolete" is a growing anxiety across the labor force. According to a report, around 4,600 American workers have already lost their jobs to AI between May 2023 and January 2024. Nearly half of company leaders say ChatGPT has replaced employees at their businesses.

Sectors like customer service, sales, food services, and production and manufacturing are particularly vulnerable to AI disruption. Experts predict AI could automate millions of jobs by 2030, potentially replacing "almost all forms of human labor."

As the AI revolution unfolds, companies should address these tech-related fears within their workforce, have open conversations about the ethics of AI, and assure employees that humans will still have a place in the future of automated work. 

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