Upon opening ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence (AI) platform, I am presented with four automated suggestions:

  • Write a Python script to automate sending daily email reports
  • Write a thank you note to my interviewer
  • Create a content calendar for a TikTok account
  • Plan a mental health day to help me relax

These suggestions can be beneficial for anyone, whether they’re unemployed, traditionally employed, or working as gig workers.

AI’s impact on the gig economy is especially profound and fascinating. Gig workers are finding themselves at the forefront of the AI revolution as gig platforms are increasingly relying on AI generated pricing models and automated tasks. At this point, the sophistication of AI has reached a level where it can autonomously generate tailored recommendations and insights for gig workers in any industry within the gig economy whether it be finance, health care, and transportation. While the convenience of  automatically spell-checked, grammar-reinforced emails or responses to inquiries within seconds is undeniable, it’s also important to consider the autonomy and job security of gig workers, especially when gig workers and platforms are gradually depending on AI. 

Job autonomy refers to the degree of independence and freedom an employee has in carrying out their work-related tasks and making decisions related to their job. As mentioned before, AI platforms may implement algorithms that dictate how, when, and where gig workers perform their tasks, leaving gig workers with less flexibility. For example, ride-sharing apps like Uber or Lyft may use algorithms to determine routes or pricing, limiting the autonomy of drivers. 

An article from the MIT Technology Review discusses how algorithmic ride-hailing services set workers against each other by unevenly dispersing them across a wide geographical area, and how Jakartan drivers are “fighting back” by finding a sense of community at a “base camp”. Alternatively, an article from Information Week suggests that AI can improve job autonomy by allowing employees to focus on more critical tasks, allowing AI to accomplish more “repetitive [and] predictable tasks” like data entry.

In conclusion, AI is what you make of it. While the gig economy continues to rapidly grow, gig workers can harness the potential of AI to increase efficiency, enhance productivity, and access new avenues of work. However, it is important not to undermine the accompanying challenges such as algorithmic and loss of autonomy. 


Article by
Zoe Maung
Content Writer and Researcher

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