As technology has evolved over the last decade, so has the job landscape. Most recently, AI technology has begun to radically alter the way businesses across industries function and utilize their labor force.
One particular area of the job market which has been significantly impacted by the rise of AI technology is the gig industry. Understanding the substantial impact that AI is having on gig workers can give one a more nuanced perspective on the way that the job landscape is evolving in our modern world.
Here is how AI programs are threatening the future of the gig industry.
Making Workers Obsolete
Across a wide variety of industries, AI technology is proving itself as a cheaper, more reliable option to perform a range of tasks. As a result, more and more employers are now incorporating this technology into their business processes.
Unfortunately for gig workers, many of the tasks AI is able to perform are currently being performed by people in the gig industry. This includes tasks such as copywriting, graphic design, accounting, data analysis, and a range of other tasks. This indicates a decreasing need for the services that gig workers provide, threatening to make them obsolete.
In addition to the tasks that AI technology is already able to perform, it is steadily evolving and developing new capabilities. For example, many expect AI-powered tech to become capable of making deliveries and operating cars without humans in the near future. This spells trouble for gig workers, many of whom perform jobs that involve driving and delivery tasks.
Though AI has yet to make gig workers completely unneeded, it is becoming an increasingly likely possibility. As such, many of those working in the gig economy are now worrying about their future and whether their current roles will still exist in a matter of years.
More Efficient Than Humans
For many companies who have implemented AI technology into their business processes, it’s becoming increasingly clear that AI programs are more efficient than their human counterparts. What might take a human employee or freelancer a week to complete may be done in a matter of seconds by AI-powered software.
While some companies are more inclined toward the practice of keeping their human employees, others are finding the increased productivity of AI technology hard to ignore. As a result, the near future may see a drastic decrease in the need for freelance employees that perform a variety of tasks, such as accounting and writing.
This increased efficiency is threatening to make it easier for employers to opt for AI-powered technology than seek out contractors or freelancers to perform a variety of tasks. As such, AI’s ability to perform a number of complex tasks quickly and accurately will very likely have an immense impact on the gig economy and those who perform these gig roles.
Starting to Not Need Human Oversight
One of the key reasons that the gig economy hasn’t yet been eclipsed by AI technology is the fact that most AI technology still requires a human to oversee it. This includes humans performing tasks such as providing prompts, making critical decisions, and fixing errors.
Unfortunately for gig workers, AI technology is quickly evolving and learning how to make its own decisions without human oversight. As this becomes more of a reality, it’s clear that gig workers will become a less sought-after solution to labor needs.
However, many gig workers are taking refuge in the fact that AI technology hasn’t yet reached this stage. In addition, an increasing amount of concern around AI is causing governments to act and legally stifle some of the capabilities of AI-powered technology.
Despite this, there are still abounding indications that AI is quickly becoming capable of performing many of the tasks performed by gig workers without the need for human guidance.
Cheaper Alternative to Gig Workers
At the root of all businesses is the act of making more money than one spends. A significant overhead cost for virtually every company is employee wages and salaries. Today, however, AI technology is putting pressure on this traditional practice by being able to perform the duties of employees for a significantly lower cost.
As a result of AI technology presenting itself as a more cost-effective option, many employers are now steering away from freelancers and contract workers. Consequently, many gig workers are finding their options for employment steadily decreasing.
In the future, as AI technology is refined and becomes more normalized, it’s likely that the cost-effectiveness of this technology will become even more substantial. This being the case, the gig industry is definitely being threatened by AI and its ability to accomplish tasks in a way that’s cheaper than hiring a gig worker.
Making the Gig Economy More Competitive
At one point in time, the gig economy was booming with opportunities abounding for masses of gig workers. Unfortunately, AI technology is actively altering the gig industry landscape and making it more difficult for gig workers to find jobs. As a result, the gig economy is becoming a more competitive field with a glut of workers and a scarcity of roles.
This situation for gig workers is only getting worse as AI technology becomes more sophisticated. For many workers, this means that only the most skilled and experienced gig workers in their field will continue to have a sustainable number of jobs available to them.
This being the case, it’s clear that AI technology is playing a significant role in the increased amount of competitiveness in the gig economy.
Changing the Job Market Landscape
While AI programs are changing the world in many incredible ways, it is also presenting itself as a key problem for gig workers. By being able to perform tasks in ways that are cheaper and more efficient than humans, AI technology is taking precedence over gig workers in the eyes of employers and business leaders.
Though many are hopeful that there will be more jobs created as a result of the rise of AI programs, it’s difficult to discount the challenges it poses to gig workers. As time goes on, AI technology will likely replace large segments of the gig economy and possibly even make it entirely obsolete.
About the Author
Ryan Ayers is a researcher and consultant within multiple industries including information technology, blockchain and business development. Always up for a challenge, Ayers enjoys working with startups as well as Fortune 500 companies. When not at work, Ayers loves reading science fiction novels and watching the LA Clippers.