Klarna's AI bot is doing the work of 700 employees. What will happen to their jobs?

Klarna's OpenAI bot
Klarna's OpenAI bot Copyright KLARNA
By Pascale Davies
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Klarna’s CEO said that decision-makers need to understand that this is not just "in the future" but happening now.

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Swedish Fintech company Klarna has said its artificial intelligence (AI) assistant is doing the work of 700 full-time agents and that its chatbot has had two-thirds of Klarna’s customer service chats in a month.

The buy now, pay later firm announced its AI assistant powered by US giant OpenAI on Wednesday, which has been live globally for a month.

The chatbot has handled 2.3 million customer service chats in 35 languages. Available on the Klarna app, the chatbot aims to save consumers time in managing refunds and returns.

Klarna said the chatbot is more accurate in errand resolution and saw a 25 per cent drop in repeat inquiries. However, customers can still choose to interact with live agents.

Klarna CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski has made no secret of the company’s plans to build its operations around AI.

In December, Klarna announced a hiring freeze, except for engineering roles as it looked to AI.

'Society needs to consider the impact'

Klarna outsources its customer services operations and has around 3,000 employees working in the department.

A spokesperson told Tech.EU this would be reduced to around 2,300 workers due to the success of the AI-powered bot.

"As more companies adopt these technologies, we believe society needs to consider the impact," Siemiatkowski said on the social media site X.

"While it may be a positive impact for society as a whole, we need to consider the implications for the individuals affected," he added.

But he also said that they "decided to share these statistics to raise the awareness and encourage a proactive approach to the topic of AI".

"For decision-makers worldwide to recognise this is not just ‘in the future’, this is happening right now".

Klarna announced its partnership with OpenAI last year.

"Klarna is at the very forefront among our partners in AI adoption and practical application," Brad Lightcap, COO of OpenAI, said in a press release.

"Together we are unlocking the vast potential for AI to boost productivity and improve our day-to-day lives".

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