(FASTCOMPANY) — For about a year, Sam Fox-Hartin had worked for an on-demand concierge startup called GoButler as a "Hero," the company's term for employees who field users' requests, via text message, and then complete tasks such as booking tables at restaurants, scheduling appointments, or ordering food for delivery on their behalf. Most of these tasks, like the ones I watched Fox-Hartin maneuver when GoButler invited me to visit its New York headquarters last year, were fairly routine. But he also wrote poems. Convinced couriers to deliver dry ice. And in response to one particularly odd request, drew "some horses hanging around a campfire." As a comedy writer and former philosophy major, he brought creative enthusiasm to the job. "I’m by no means a gifted visual artist," he says of the horse drawing, "but I tried my best."
In late February, he learned he was about to be replaced by an algorithm that he'd unwittingly helped build.
GoButler's CFO called Fox-Hartin at home to tell him the news (he wasn't at work on the day the announcement was made). The company had decided to move to "a more automated product," he said.
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