If Americans were worried that Indians are taking away their jobs, this news isn’t going to help one bit.
An American startup has hired a receptionist who sits in India and greets visitors as they enter its office. The man is essentially a mobile robot, who communicates with visitors through a digital screen. There’s a webcam attached to his device through which he can see what’s going on – in turn, visitors at the office can hear him speak through a microphone.
I'm visiting an office in Silicon Valley where the receptionist is a mobile robot. The guy behind it is in New Delhi. pic.twitter.com/Uoj9RjiNu3
— Brad Loncar (@bradloncar) October 5, 2016
According to Brad Loncar, a US-based private investor, the man sits in New Delhi and conducts operations for this startup at its front desk.
It’s an idea that’ll make you do a double-take, but it could work. If you can outsource tech jobs, and call center jobs, why should a receptionist be any different? All a receptionist really does is look at visitors (this is done via a webcam), access records (this man in Delhi can easily have access to the software that a receptionist in California would have), and possibly grant access to the building (this can too be done electronically).
And all this at a fraction of the salary that a receptionist would demand in California.
No wonder Donald Trump is concerned about immigration – this is clearly a threat to low-skilled American workers, who will increasingly see their livelihoods outsourced away. But like this receptionist shows, you don’t even need to be an immigrant while taking away someone’s job – you can do it from many thousand miles away.