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Should You Cut Back on Employees and Use AI More?

One major question that’s being asked by business owners in 2024 is where they can cut corners and where they can save money. Now, this within itself is not new, not by a long shot. But it’s the reasoning why it’s being asked. You see, more and more large and small businesses are trying to find ways to only use AI and to cut down on as many humans as possible. It’s not too hard to see why: you don’t have to pay AI, you don’t have to give employee benefits to AI, they don’t need breaks, they don’t need vacations, nor do they need sleep. 

So they can work around the clock, 24/7, with no questions asked and no complaints. So, for a lot of businesses, this sounds like a dream come true. It’s flat-out true that technology is changing the future; it’s probably changed the future far more than was even anticipated.

 Even in just February 2024 alone, it’s estimated that 4000 to 4600 employees were laid off solely due to AI across various sectors (and this is only growing to grow soon enough). So, if other companies are doing this, and it’s projected that this is only going to get more common, should you just do this, too? 

Is it a good idea to just go ahead and cut down your staff and use AI more? Well, bluntly put it, there are advantages to it, but it’s not all sunshine and rainbows either. There are a lot of disadvantages to all of this, too. So, with that said, here’s what you need to know! 

What are the Benefits of Replacing Employees with AI?

The decision to reduce human resources in favor of AI implementation is complex and multifaceted, requiring careful consideration of various factors. Well, at least it should; there are a lot of businesses out there thinking, “I don’t need to hire copywriters anymore; ChatGPT can write articles for me in a matter of seconds,” or “I don’t need this graphic designer anymore, Canva now has an AI assistant that makes everything for you in seconds.” 

The same can be said for support; just as with chat support, so many of them are being replaced with chatbots. Just take a look at Klarna; the CEO said that AI can do the work of 700 employees, and they have already laid off a huge percentage of their support staff. So, what are some of the main benefits of replacing humans?

Cost Efficiency

One of the primary motivations for adopting AI is cost reduction. Like what was stated above, they don’t need resources like humans do. AI systems can automate repetitive tasks, leading to potential savings in labor costs over time. However, initial investments in AI infrastructure, software development, and training may be substantial, necessitating a thorough cost-benefit analysis before making any decisions- so that’s something to keep in mind.

Productivity 

Needless to say, AI will only be trained more and more to the point where it’ll be just as good as humans, if not better (as terrifying as that is). While at this moment, it’s fairly obvious that something was done or written by AI, there’s that lack of human touch that makes it blatant. 

But currently, there’s an introduction to natural language processing that is making machine learning come off as more human, as intricate as a human’s thoughts and feelings, but more advanced than a human’s. AI can be seen as more productive than humans, and this is only going to grow more and more, which is why it’s super desirable for businesses. 

Can This Be a Bad Idea?

There are many concerns about laying off massive numbers of people and replacing them with AI. But what exactly are some of these issues? Well, if some things just seem too good to be true, then they just might be. 

Ethics  Need to be Thought About

The widespread adoption of AI at the expense of human jobs raises ethical questions about fairness, equity, and social responsibility. Well, the thing is, businesses are supposed to have a moral obligation to prioritize the well-being of their employees and mitigate the negative consequences of technological disruption on individuals and communities. But that does mean that they actually do. No, not always, and that temporary bad PR for some seems to be fine, while other people (at this time) will even praise these brands for laying off people in the name of AI. The general consensus of replacing humans with AI is unique; it’s almost 50/50 for and against. 

Loss of Expertise

Only humans can be experts, not AI. Plus, human employees bring a wealth of knowledge, experience, and creativity to the workplace that AI systems cannot replicate. So, you’d be basically at risk of losing valuable insights, problem-solving abilities, and innovative thinking that are essential for long-term success and competitiveness. Is that something you’re okay with doing in the name of more profits? Eventually, your company will stagnate. 

Lack of Trust

Customers absolutely despise having to deal with bots, especially when they need help. They’re not getting the support they need. Unless you’re a monopoly, then chances are, your customers will just find another company that will help them out and would do a better job at support. Your customers won’t protect your business; they’re the ones that make your business what is it, not AI. 

Unforeseen Consequences

Implementing AI-driven automation without careful consideration of potential risks and unintended consequences can lead to system failures, errors, and security breaches. You also have to keep in mind that AI algorithms may perpetuate biases and discrimination present in the data used to train them, resulting in discriminatory outcomes and harm to marginalized groups. It’s already happening, and there’s barely any news on it. Eventually it’ll only get worse, and your company will suffer. Are you willing to deal with that?

So, should your company cut back on employees? Should you use AI more? At the end of the day, it’s entirely your choice; it truly is. But you really need to think about this and whether it’s even worth it or not, because while it might seem brilliant now, it may not be later.

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