Recently, there was a story shared on social media about a freelance writer who lost a high-paying marketing client to ChatGPT. As a result of losing this client, she had to resort to signing up as a driver for Doordash.
AI and Work Displacement: A Story from a Freelance Mom
A freelance writer used to share on social media that "AI isn’t a threat if you’re a good writer"; however, she felt differently about this opinion after losing her biggest and best client to ChatGPT. According to her, this client is a marketer who outsourced most of his copy and content writing to her and contributed to her main source of income. His explanation for not continuing to work with her is blamed on the profit margin comparison between using AI and human labor, as although he knows AI’s work isn’t nearly as good as hers, he can’t ignore the profit margin.
The person in this story is a mom and earns from freelance writing jobs. As mentioned, she just picked up this customer last year after taking about 3 years off from writing when she had a baby. This client was her main source of income and she had been working with him for the past year. The client was extremely satisfied with her work and had voluntarily increased her hourly rate from $50 to $80 due to her consistently good work.
Freelance and remote jobs have become increasingly popular among people in recent years due to their numerous benefits. These jobs not only save people the time and effort of traveling to and from work, but they also allow for a more flexible work-life balance. In fact, a survey has shown that many mothers prefer working from home or remotely because it saves them time that can be spent on taking care of their children and family. However, with the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) technology, many jobs that were previously done by human beings are being replaced by machines. This has made the dream of working from home or remotely more difficult for many people, including freelancers and remote workers.
Even if you are a professional and experienced writer, it become harder to compete in the work market with AI involvement. The mom in the story is an experienced writer for a decade and have worked with top brands as freelancer. She also had published dozen of articles on well-know website, but she eventually admitted that businesses and clients have to put the profit first. Small businesses and even corporations are "always cutting corners". Enterprise cares about profit margin because it is essential for the long-term viability and growth of the business. This margin allows the enterprise to reinvest in the business, pay dividends to shareholders, and expand operations. The issue between profit margin and displacement of human worker received a lot of feedbacks from other social media users. Some agree with the business perspective that profit should be prioritized to quality.
"We live in a profit-driven world where quantity matters more than quality. That means that most companies will only care about publishing decent content every day, and that's where ChatGPT outperforms us. Good writers can deliver the most captivating copies and articles, but they're not free and can't deliver their work in a matter of seconds"
Effect on the Workforce
Some people also raised the concerns about the pay down for the tasks delivered by human against AI-involved tasks. It can see that when the enterprise care about the profit, human being is one of the subject to be suffered.
Many businesses will hire writers to be prompt engineers, but AI will do most of the job. That means writers will only receive half of what they've been earning before.
Recently, the layoffs in the Silicon Valley showcase how cost-cutting will result in reducing the headcount or how workers may need to accept lower pay. The tech sector layoff recently was blamed on the economy, inflation, higher interest rates, over hiring and COVID-19 pandemic job correction. What if the layoff is blamed on AI? It may not be happening today everywhere, but we are sure it will happen at some point in the future. Some people on social media are willing to share their opinions about this case below:
"I think it's really shitty to be doing this to people, especially individuals you've cultivated SOME kind of working relationship with for a while".
Today's story is about only one freelancer losing their job, but it can be a big layoff of hundreds to millions people in the near future. Companies should carefully consider the potential ethical implications of using AI to replace human workers. They should try to make sure that they are not causing harm or perpetuating unfair labor practices, and that they are making decisions that are in the best interest of both the company and its employees.
Impacts on Well-being and Happiness
Many people have concerns about losing their job due to the advancement of artificial intelligence. The data on the impact of artificial intelligence on employment suggests that in the next few decades, the global economy may suffer a loss of millions of jobs, particularly in fields where human qualities such as empathy and communication are not essential. Yuval, the author of Sapiens, believed that the advancement of AI-driven automation could result in job displacement and loss of traditional work opportunities. According to Goldman Sachs economists, the newest wave of artificial intelligence could automate 300 million full-time jobs around the world. This may change our perception of work and how it maintains significance in our lives, leading to an existential crisis in every economy around the world.
"I honestly think the continuation of advancing AI technology is damaging society more than anyone realizes. Truth is AI can take over almost profession out there, there are very few that actually require human support. Everything is going digital, my kids barely write anything at school… a lot of lessons are all done on computer. Cursive is not even taught in America, no doubt the UK will follow suit soon. Whenever my kids want to look something up, they go to the internet rather than a book. They are actively making people redundant".
Employment has a certain connection to the way we achieve happiness. Work has historically been a source of purpose, social status, and self-worth, and gives people a purpose in life. It is not just about money but something that people love to have. It’s a sense of belonging, being valuable and meaningful to something or someone in life. Working people experience more positive feelings through their engagement in the activities. A research from Harvard Business Reviews showed that poorly-designed work may result in a shortage of engagement, dissatisfaction, and burnout for many workers. There is a strong link between unemployment and poor well-being. In the book - Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, Harari posits that as AI continues to evolve, it may not only transform the job market but also challenge our understanding of human nature and the traditional sources of happiness. He explores the potential implications of AI-driven biotechnology and brain-computer interfaces, suggesting that these technologies could potentially reshape human emotions, desires, and perceptions of happiness. Therefore, AI has the ability to make people worried about losing their jobs and in turn, affect their meaning of life attached to their work.
Recommendations for Individuals and Businesses
Artificial Intelligence does not only bring about worries and future concerns to human beings due to its effect on work. AI also has a significant contribution to increased effectiveness and performance while supporting and collaborating with humans at work. AI has a huge potential to make employees more productive, and help companies more efficient. AI tools and workflows are expected to enhance productivity, bring about specialized job roles, and highlight the significance of "human skills" such as creativity, problem-solving, and quantitative skills. In contrast to the human brain, AI software has the ability to swiftly identify issues in limited, data-driven contexts. This capability serves as a time-effective advantage, which is already contributing to the decision-making process for treatment alternatives in the healthcare industry.
Many tasks have been automated and have become cheaper, and humans can do other processes which have not been or are not easily automated. According to Calcum, AI, and automation has the potential to remove boring and repetitive tasks from our daily work routine, allowing us to focus on jobs that offer us a more profound sense of fulfillment and happiness. One of the social media user shared his point of view about how to choose the work which is free from AI displacement:
"The only place that AI can't (yet) access is the off-line world and right now that's the only place I carve out my living. In my opinion anyone who creates content from purely online sources has no chance against AI but if you're a good writer and you can leverage your real-world community and skills it may be a different story. It breaks my heart to see fresh young talent feel discouraged, keep your head up and I wish you the very best success".
A satisfying job offers us a sense of progression, autonomy, belongingness, and challenges us to grow and develop our skills . In addition, AI-driven innovations in healthcare, education, and communication could support improving life quality and well-being. For example, Harvard University created a new artificial intelligence system to determine the most direct route to human happiness. This innovative technology uses complex algorithms to analyze various factors that could impact an individual's overall sense of contentment. Its development represents a significant advancement in the field of AI and has the potential to provide valuable insights into the human psyche.
Societies can adapt by embracing alternative models of productivity and promoting non-work-related activities, and engaging in useful activities to avoid becoming crazy at the same time. AI helps to free up people's workload, help them unlock their unlimited potential, find more job satisfaction, and spend time pursuing passionate and meaningful things in life
"if AI replaces professional creatives that produce content, then the professionals that coordinated, edited, or otherwise provided a filter between that content and the company's use of it will suddenly find themselves being the individuals that need to engineer prompts. The people that will be best situated to do this will be people that have good domain understanding, strong creative vocabulary, and ability to provide deliberate instructions."
There have a famous saying "if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail". While people keep worrying about the impact of AI on human labor, others take advantages of these tools and prepare for any changes to be better. To embrace change, the recommendations are focusing on developing valuable skills, and fostering a culture of collaboration between humans and machines. By doing so, workers and companies can adapt to the changing job market and take advantage of the opportunities presented by AI technology. AI will not replace you. A person using AI will.
Here are a few ways to avoid being left behind during the AI revolution:
Focus on building skills that are difficult to automate: AI technology is typically designed to handle routine and repetitive tasks, while tasks that require creativity, emotional intelligence, and critical thinking are more difficult to automate. Workers can therefore focus on developing skills in these areas to make themselves more valuable in the job market.
Embrace lifelong learning: With the rapid pace of technological change, it is important for workers to continuously update their skills and knowledge in order to remain relevant. Workers can take advantage of online courses, professional development programs, and other opportunities to stay current and adapt to new technologies.
Foster a culture of collaboration: Rather than viewing AI as a threat, companies can foster a culture of collaboration between humans and machines. By working together, humans and AI can complement each other's strengths and weaknesses, leading to better outcomes and increased productivity.
Provide opportunities for upskilling and reskilling: Companies can provide opportunities for their employees to upskill and reskill in order to adapt to the changing job market. This can include training programs, mentorship, and job rotation programs that expose workers to new skills and experiences.
Ensure fairness and transparency in AI implementation: Companies should ensure that their AI systems are designed and implemented in a fair and transparent manner, with appropriate checks and balances in place to prevent unintended consequences such as bias or discrimination.
The modern enterprise's ultimate pursuit of sustainable profitability must be inextricably linked with the well-being and motivation of its workforce. As the lifeblood of any organization, employees who are nurtured, respected, and empowered will be inspired to contribute to the company's enduring success. By fostering an environment that prizes open communication, continuous learning, and collaborative problem-solving, businesses can unlock the full potential of their human capital.
In a world where the bottom line is increasingly scrutinized not only for profit but also for ethical considerations, companies that champion both financial and social responsibility will emerge as trailblazers, setting a new standard for the business landscape. As an AI philosopher might eloquently put it, "The enterprise of the future is one where prosperity and people are not at odds, but rather, together they form the beating heart of an organization that thrives on shared triumphs and transcends the challenges of a rapidly changing world."