American freelance workers are increasingly turning to artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance productivity, according to a recent study conducted by Freelancer.com. The study also unveiled, however, that this shift towards automation has also sparked concerns about job security.
Freelancer.com surveyed over 1,300 US registered on its platform and found that three-quarters (75%) of these workers now use generative AI tools in their work. The tools are primarily employed to auto-generate responses or handle mundane tasks, a shift that has freed many from tedious work.
Notably, one in three workers (33%) report using AI tools constantly, while one-quarter (25%) admit to using these tools occasionally. About 16% of the participants never use AI at work.
According to the survey data, the most popular AI tool amongst workers is ChatGPT, with over half (58%) of respondents integrating it into their workflow. The second most popular tool is Bard & Bing chat (20%), followed by GitHub Copilot (12%) and AI image generation tools (10%).
“Freelancers from the United States were extremely fast to adopt AI tools and, as you can see from the results, a majority are harnessing the power of generative AI for productivity gains and to get projects done much more quickly,” said Matt Barrie, CEO of Freelancer.com.
These findings highlight how AI is reshaping the modern workplace, especially in the freelance arena, with workers leveraging AI’s ability to streamline tasks and boost productivity. Yet, they also underscore a key question: what percentage of work is being automated by AI?
The Freelancer.com study discovered that the majority of AI usage in the workplace lies in tasks encompassing 1-25% of workers’ activities, with about 33% of the respondents falling into this category. On the other hand, using AI in 50-75% of the tasks is equally common (15%) as not using AI at all. Only a small fraction of participants (10%) reported utilizing AI for all their tasks.
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Despite the benefits of AI, apprehensions about job security remain significant. A startling 58% of workers express high concern about being replaced by AI. Approximately 22% were somewhat concerned, and 19% were unconcerned.
Furthermore, participants’ attitudes toward AI varied. A third (33%) are optimistic about AI’s new opportunities. Equal numbers (19%) see AI as a means to improve the accuracy of their work and boost productivity. Others believe that AI could mandate the learning of new skills (17%) and automate mundane tasks (13%).
The study also found an interesting generational divide. Most respondents (61%) were Generation Z, followed by Millennials (23%). These younger generations are more likely to embrace new technological advancements, indicating a greater likelihood for them to incorporate AI into their work.
This survey offers a crucial snapshot of how the freelance market is evolving with the integration of AI. While the benefits are many, it also exposes the potential downside: concerns about job security and the necessity for constant upskilling. Small business owners must be mindful of this balancing act when integrating AI tools into their workflow. Whether the integration of AI in the workplace ultimately leads to a net gain for workers remains to be seen.
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