AI may gobble up 90% of jobs, warns CRED founder & CEO Kunal Shah

"I think we should stop worshipping unicorns. We have to worship people who have large profit pools…" KUNAL SHAH, Founder & CEO, CRED

CRED Founder

Kunal Shah, founder and chief executive officer at fintech platform CRED

Ajinkya Kawale Mumbai

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Artificial intelligence (AI) could pose a risk to the relevance of jobs in 10 years, according to Kunal Shah, founder and chief executive officer of the financial technology (fintech) platform CRED, speaking at the Global Fintech Fest in Mumbai.

He expressed concern that many people underestimate the risks associated with AI, likening it to something as simple as ChatGPT. Shah confidently stated that up to 90 per cent of individuals currently employed may find their jobs less relevant a decade from now. Shah was in conversation with CNBC TV18.

Shah observed that humans struggle to upskill rapidly and pointed out the challenge of keeping pace with evolving technology. He emphasised that unless individuals “possess a curious and compounding mindset”, the jobs of virtually everyone “are at risk”, making this his “biggest worry”.

The fintech founder expressed a desire to venture into the AI sector if he were to start another company. He expressed optimism about the potential for high-quality AI companies in India, which could leverage the unique combination of human talent and AI technology.

Shah also foresaw a future where India could have various AI-powered companies, from software and BPO enterprises to call centres with AI co-pilots, ushering in a “cyborg-time of company building”.

However, he cautioned against the current trend among Indian startups, where founders believe capital is a prerequisite for success. He urged a shift in focus from unicorn startups to celebrating founders who have built profitable companies without the need for excessive capital.

“I think we should stop worshipping unicorns. We have to worship people who have large profit pools. There are hundreds of founders who have built profitable companies, but they are not even known. The country has always had an entrepreneurial spirit, but capital is a new thing for us,” he said.

Shah disclosed that his investments are primarily directed towards startups rather than mutual funds or stocks, and he views it as a way to contribute to the ecosystem’s progress.

“There was a time when I used to meet founders before investing in them, but now I do it over email or WhatsApp,” he observed.

He emphasised his commitment to supporting startups and noted that he has invested in approximately 70 to 80 fintech startups, with an average cheque size of $50,000.

Shah expressed his belief that fostering a community of high-quality founders can transform India from a nation of job seekers to one of job creators.

“I think if you can create 1,000 high-quality founders, they are also learning to pay it forward,” he said.

CRED is valued at $6.4 billion. For FY22 the company reported a loss of Rs 1,280 crore and revenue was near the Rs 400 crore mark. The company is yet to file its FY23 results.  

First Published: Sep 07 2023 | 7:26 PM IST

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