AI Study Shows Freelance Workers at Risk; Calls for Strengthened Labor Protections
New research conducted by US scholars has revealed the potential risks posed by artificial intelligence (AI) to freelance workers, urging governments to implement stronger labor protections. The study highlights that without intervention, AI could result in a significant loss of jobs for freelancers. Surprisingly, the research findings indicate that even highly skilled freelance workers are more vulnerable to job losses. This contradicts the common belief that advanced skills would offer greater job security in the face of AI advancements.
However, another study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) provides a glimmer of hope. Their research shows that workers who utilize OpenAI’s GPT-4 AI model for specific tasks demonstrate increased productivity compared to those who don’t. Yet, this advantage diminishes when it comes to tasks requiring more nuanced judgment. Interestingly, those who used AI tools to complement their own skill sets experienced the greatest benefits. These findings emphasize the importance of AI being used as a supplement to human work, rather than a replacement.
In light of these research findings, there is a growing consensus that freelance workers require enhanced labor protection. Advocacy groups and trade unions have criticized UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s AI summit for disregarding AI’s potential threat to workers and instead focusing solely on its benefits. Furthermore, renowned entrepreneur Elon Musk has been vocal about his belief that AI will eventually render human labor unnecessary. Musk, who recently founded an AI company focused on achieving artificial general intelligence (AGI), has expressed that there will come a point where jobs are entirely eradicated.
Acknowledging the concerns surrounding AI’s impact on the labor market, US President Joe Biden has issued a nonbinding executive order urging AI companies to study the consequences of models like GPT-4 on employment. The Biden administration is also seeking input from these companies on how the federal government can provide support to alleviate any disruptions caused by AI in the labor market.
Despite differing views and predictions about AI’s future, one aspect remains clear: immediate attention must be given to the potential threats posed to knowledge workers. The impact of AI on monetary policy, including factors like wage growth and maximum employment, still remains uncertain. Should AI continue to eliminate jobs without a proportional influx of new participants into the workforce, unemployment levels could rise. However, the extent of this rise will hinge on the government’s ability to effectively address and mitigate labor disruptions caused by AI.
In conclusion, the latest studies emphasize the need for stronger labor protections for freelance workers in the face of advancements in AI. While some research highlights the potential benefits of AI as a complement to human work, concerns remain about the long-term implications for employment and the economy. Striking the right balance between embracing AI’s capabilities and ensuring the safeguarding of workers’ interests will be crucial moving forward. As governments and organizations around the world grapple with these challenges, a coherent and comprehensive approach is necessary to navigate the rapidly evolving landscape of AI.