New Delhi: Last year, a Hong Kong-based online gaming firm, NetDragon Websoft, with an annual revenue of about $2.1 billion, appointed a new CEO – Ms Tang Yu, at its flagship subsidiary. Since her appointment, the company’s stocks have outperformed the Hong Kong share market, according to a report in the business news website, The Hustle.
The CEO worked hard, was available 24/7, was paid no salary and did not even sleep! While on the surface this might seem as hiring a good talent for free, the catch is that Yu is not human.
Last August, NetDragon Websoft announced the appointment of an AI-powered virtual humanoid robot, Yu, as the rotating CEO of its flagship subsidiary, Fujian NetDragon Websoft Co.
Yu, The Hustle said, was responsible for all of the typical duties of a company figurehead: reviewing high-level analytics, making leadership decisions, assessing risks and fostering an efficient workplace.
In the press statement, issued last year, the company had said that Yu will streamline process flow, enhance quality of work tasks and improve speed of execution.
“Tang Yu will also serve as a real-time data hub and analytical tool to support rational decision-making in daily operations, as well as to enable a more effective risk management system. In addition, Tang Yu is expected to play a critical role in the development of talents and ensuring a fair and efficient workplace for all employees,” the statement read.
Dejian Liu, chairman of NetDragon, had then said that Yu’s appointment represented “our commitment to truly embrace the use of AI to transform the way we operate our business, and ultimately drive our future strategic growth.”
“Looking forward, we will continue to expand on our algorithms behind Tang Yu to build an open, interactive and highly transparent management model as we gradually transform to a metaverse-based working community, which will enable us to attract a much broader base of talents worldwide and put us in a position to achieve bigger goals,” he had said.
So far, having an AI CEO hasn’t had any adverse consequence for NetDragon Websoft. In fact, since Yu’s appointment, the gaming company has outperformed Hong Kong’s stock market. While the Hang Seng Index had declined by 2.8 per cent between August 2022 to February 2023, the stock price of the company increased by over 18% during the period.
The Hustle also pitched for replacing CEOs with AI systems. It noted that the average CEO pay was now about $16 million per year at Fortune 500 firms.
“The incentives for workplace automation are largely financial. So why not start by replacing the highest-paid employee of them all — the CEO?,” it said.
The report also noted that the average CEO pay had gone up 1,460% over the past 45 years while the average pay of worker had only gone up 18%. “As a result, today’s average CEO is paid the equivalent of 399 median workers,” the report said.
“At larger companies, this ratio is often many multiples higher: For instance, in 2021, Amazon CEO Andy Jassey received a package worth $213m — equal to the collective wages of 6,474 Amazon employees. That’s enough workers to fully staff four fulfillment centers,” TheHustle remarked.