By now we’ve all heard of the term ‘shared economy’. Or at least the companies that spearheaded this movement, such as Uber, Airbnb, RelayRides or TaskRabbit.
After the 2008 financial crisis, we’ve seen a decline in quality corporate jobs. And thus people are supplementing their income with ‘side jobs’. But this so-called side hustle has become commonplace. According to Freelancers Union, 53 million people in the US are 1099 employees.
I recently connected with Will Lee, an Artificial Intelligence expert who studied at Stanford. He created his company, Verlocal, with the mission to teach and assist people in monetizing their passions to prepare for this shift in employment.
To him, the future for freelancers lies in their innate creativity. But the trick is to find opportunities that monetize their creativity. Here is what Lee shared are the ways technology is helping employ future workers:
There is a growing level of comfort to working independently. Close to 35 percent of Americans in the workforce currently do some sort of freelancing to make ends meet. They may still work a 40-hour traditional job, but more and more are supplementing their income through 1099 opportunities.
“This indicates the ability of humans to adjust based on environment. A valuable information on how we will navigate the coming world of Artificial Intelligence and robotics entering the labor pool,” says Lee.
The Artificial Intelligence Workforce
According to a 2013 University of Oxford study, almost half of those currently employed in the U.S. are at risk of being put out of work by automation in the next decade or two. The study identifies administration, transportation and logistics as the most susceptible industries.
However, today’s apprehension about rapidly advancing technology is nothing new. It’s effects on the labor force date back to early textile workers who were replaced by manufacturing machinery.
“The key with AI is to adapt,” says Lee. “Generally speaking, change causes anxiety in many people. But it is the creative workers who provide classes, services and products designed. Through a personalized spark that cannot be taken away by AI, nor is it the best use of AI.”
Entrepreneurs are either driven by passion or profit. Ideally, both. So, where do freelancers fit?
“In between a corporate workforce and an entrepreneur are the people monetizing their creativity, regardless of barriers or perceived roadblocks” says Lee. “When people can do what they love, they will realize their potential, and organically differentiate themselves in the marketplace.”
And in terms of the AI landscape, Lee believes this is perfect timing for the coming wave of robotic innovation because people are more accustomed to pursuing what they love. They’re more likely to be successful in the new economy. Lee says that it’s his goal to “help individuals build businesses and better themselves and their livelihoods through self-discovery.”
While AI might take away certain jobs from humans, this only means it’s freeing up jobs for a more passion-driven economy to do what we love.