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Will AI replace writers and freelance workers? Is it possible that AI will actually create more jobs for freelancers?
Artificial Intelligence has thrown freelance marketplaces, their clients, and independent writers’ futures into an uncertain, transitional state. As AI’s ability to produce writing comparable to that of humans grows, platforms and writers will have to adapt to meet clients’ shifting needs and interests.
Here are the different perspectives on the effect AI will have on freelancers.
AI’s Effect on Freelancing
Will AI replace writers? That’s a common question being asked after the release of Chat GPT-4’s release. The rapid growth and prominence of powerful Artificial Intelligence (AI) has thrust freelance marketplaces and the writers they connect to clients into an uncertain, transitional state—and nobody’s sure what will happen next. Experts have conflicting predictions about what changes it will bring: Some predict it will put freelancers out of work and will shutter freelance marketplace platforms, while others believe it may ultimately create more opportunities.
Freelance Marketplaces and the Rise of AI
Freelance marketplaces are two-sided platforms that connect freelancers seeking work and companies looking to hire individuals for specialty services. Platforms like Fiverr and Upwork offer services in a range of areas, including writing.
Fiverr’s Spring 2023 Business Trends Index revealed a dramatic rise in interest in AI services on the platform over the past six months:
- Search queries for “artificial intelligence” increased by 56%.
- Queries for “AI” and “AI Art” rose more than 1,000% and close to 7,000%, respectively.
Prediction 1: AI Will Put Freelance Writers Out of Work
Some businesses that have hired writers on freelance marketplace platforms say that AI chatbots produce more content than humans, better, faster, and for free. Those who believe that AI-generated content will, at the very least, satisfy easily placated audiences will likely turn away from freelancers.
Prediction 2: AI Will Kill Freelance Marketplace Platforms
Other businesses using freelance marketplace platforms are unhappy that freelance writers are using AI chatbots to do some or all of their work and, as a result, they’re displeased with the platforms. Businesses seeking authentic content are increasingly irritated that freelancers are bombarding them with project proposals nearly identical to ones generated by chatbots, and a growing number of them are asking platforms for their money back.
Experts say that investors are losing confidence in freelance marketplaces’ future: Fiverr’s shares slipped 28% last week, in part due to fears that the platform’s clients will abandon human writing in favor of AI-generated content.
Prediction 3: AI Will Create More Opportunities for Writers
Some veteran freelance writers believe that AI won’t replace them because:
- Clients who hire them to develop content and increase website traffic are at the mercy of Google’s search ranking system—whose algorithm prioritizes high-quality, helpful content and devalues spam.
- Google’s SpamBrain triages AI content generated for the primary purpose of gaming Google’s search engine rankings into spam.
- Companies seeking to rank high in search results will reject AI-generated content that could land them at the bottom and stick with humans they trust to put them at the top.
Further, AI broadens freelance writers’ work opportunities.
- Freelancers can dip their toes in the hybrid AI/writing pool by taking on gigs where they use and edit AI-produced content for search engine optimization (though they’ll likely do it for less than minimum wage).
- Some freelancers say AI is a useful tool that gives them greater flexibility if, for example, they use it to:
- Produce short content that increases word count and visibility on their blogs.
- Hone their writing.
- Write affiliate marketing posts for their websites.
Finally, some freelance writers are using AI to reinvent themselves completely as “prompt engineers”—workers who provide AI tools with phrases that enable the technology to generate accurate, relevant responses.
As AI continues to evolve and impact freelance marketplace platforms and the writers and clients who use them, what happens next remains an open question.
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