Are Chatbots Job Thieves?

The proliferation of chatbots and the emergence of artificial intelligence go hand in hand with the fear of seeing a good number of employees replaced by machines. This fear isn’t totally unfounded: nearly half of the French workforce could be affected by automation between now and 2050¹. However, this digital revolution isn’t all that different from the Industrial Revolution that transformed the job market in the nineteenth century…for the better! So, should you be afraid of chatbots?

Low-level tasks for chatbots mean more stimulating jobs for humans!

Tomorrow, upon arriving at work, you discover that a smart machine has taken your place… This fear isn’t science fiction; in fact, it’s alive and well in the fields in which conversational robots are beginning to take over, for example, in first-level customer relations. Increasingly effective, today’s chatbots are capable of managing dull low-level tasks like some of those that might typically be handled by customer support, such as helping an internet user who’s having trouble logging on.
But that doesn’t make chatbots job thieves. Their existence is primarily in response to the rapid evolution of eCommerce, companies’ growing CRM needs and consumers’ ever-changing demands and requirements. In the area of HR, chatbots are helping improve employee satisfaction. Other solutions, for example, RBA (robotic process automation), which makes it possible to fully automate repetitive tasks and processes, are also revolutionizing today’s professions.
While missions with little value added are entrusted to virtual assistants, other tasks are developed requiring human skills, such as:

  • answering complex questions
  • forging personalized relationships
  • building trust
  • guiding clients and prospects throughout the purchase process
  • and, of course, configuring the chatbot’s responses.

The dawn of a new profession: the Bot Manager

Behind every conversational robot is a human brain that configures it, trains it and continuously improves it. Thus, a new profession is born: that of the Bot Manager or Bot Master, an expert coach responsible for teaching the chatbot everything it needs to know. For this reason, the Bot Manager has generally performed the job affected by the implementation of the virtual assistant, as that person already knows the ropes and can therefore anticipate consumers’ questions (as well as the correct responses) and provide the chatbot with the best possible training.
The arrival of chatbots doesn’t spell the end of certain professions, but rather their upgrade. It’s the principle of creative destruction at work. The automation of interactions (between now and 2019, 20 percent of them will go through a chatbot²) is less of a death-blow and more of an opportunity: a change in paradigm, resulting in jobs with fewer repetitive tasks and more value added.
(1) Benjamin Merritt, “Grâce aux chatbots, le community manager augmenté est né,” Stratégies, May 26, 2017.
(2) Rémi Jacquet, “Assistants virtuels : 20 % des interactions avec le smartphone en 2019,” Les Numériques, December 22, 2016.