Duolingo leans on AI as it cuts 10% of contractors

  • Duolingo has decided to lay off 10 percent of its contractors.
  • In a report by Bloomberg, a Duolingo spokesperson said part of what the contractors did will now be replaced by AI tools.
  • Duolingo CEO, Luis von Ahn, noted last year that the company would be leveraging AI when it comes to new content creation.

Language-focused edtech platform Duolingo has announced that it is laying off approximately 10 percent of its contractors. While it is unclear how much of its contract workforce that percentage accounts for, it looks like the adoption of artificial intelligence tools has played a contributing factor.

As reported by Bloomberg, the job cuts will see AI tools taking over some of the tasks that the contractors previously handled.

“We just no longer need as many people to do the type of work some of these contractors were doing,” an unnamed spokesperson told the publication. While they did not disclose precisely what tasks the contractors were responsible for, the spokesperson did note that, “part of that could be attributed to AI.”

This makes sense given Duolingo’s recent interest in AI when it comes to potentially replacing human workers and the tasks they perform.

In November of last year, CEO Luis von Ahn said the company would be utilising AI when it comes to new content creation for its platform, using the tools for elements like scripts, also noting that AI could do things “dramatically faster”.

As Engadget highlights, the company has been looking at AI for some time now, introducing a new subscription tier called Duolingo Max that added access to a chatbot.

“AI accelerates our mission to make high quality education available to everyone in the world. The things that we can do now with the power of OpenAI’s technology are going to shape the future of education,” added von Ahn at the time.

Duolingo is far from the first company to make job cuts while pursuing AI, with IBM signalling its intent to do the same last year.

“I could easily see 30% of [non-customer-facing positions] getting replaced by AI and automation over a five-year period,” said IBM CEO Arvind Krishna.

With much being made of the potential negative impact that AI will have across a myriad industries, especially those where automation of tasks can be introduced, this will not be the last time we hear that a company has laid off staff only for them to be replaced by AI.

[Image – Photo by ilgmyzin on Unsplash]


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