IKEA Backs AI Assistant to Rake in Billions
IKEA’s new artificial intelligence (AI) assistant will address common call center queries, while the humans it replaces retrain in jobs like as interior design.
IKEA has retrained 8,500 employees after AI assistant Billie processed 47% of customer queries in the past two years.
IKEA Unconcerned About Potential Layoffs
Ulrika Beisert, culture manager at IKEA parent Ingka Group, said the conglomerate is committed to employee upskilling and claimed there was no evidence that AI was reducing headcount at the firm.
Retrained call center employees-turned-interior designers can earn IKEA £25 ($31) for each 45-60 minute interior design call. Customers pay £125 for three workspace design calls, a custom floor plan, and three-dimensional renderings.
Last financial year, Ingka’s revenue from remote consultations reached $1.4 billion.
Recent research by Goldman Sachs revealed that new jobs have previously offset the economic impact of automation. However, they found that automation technologies stagnate the salaries of people whose jobs they replace.
People in administrative or clerical jobs are often the most vulnerable.
Government Must Intervene, Says Goldman
The investment bank expects generative AI to boost US labor productivity by almost 1.5% in the next decade and cause the economy to expand by 7%. It could also fuel the creation of previously untapped creative positions.
The banks’ research argued that governments could tax employers for failing to retrain employees whose jobs automation endangers. Politicians could also offer companies incentives for retraining employees. Employers could offer paid leave for retraining as they do in some German states.
Auditing giant PwC announced a $1 billion investment in AI and training for 65,000 employees on using the new technology.
Other options could stem from a new Doppl tool designed to create digital versions of people based on online activity. Unlike an avatar, the tool is not a representation of ourselves, but it is us, according to its developer Exclusible.
Employers could create digital twins of employees outside a metaverse context to fulfill tasks in the real and virtual worlds.
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