We’re all growing familiar with the ways in which automation, big data, AI and machine learning are slowly replacing human jobs. While the general tone up until now has been somewhat negative toward this sort of change, there is a growing number of entrepreneurs who have looked at the landscape and been prompted to think differently about the issue. Will Lee, founder and CEO of Verlocal, an online marketplace for freelancers, says, “AI is going to take most of our jobs... but it won’t be the end of the world.”
Lee, an Artificial Intelligence expert who studied at Stanford, created Verlocal to teach and assist people in monetizing their passions to prepare for this shift in employment. I connected with him to find out more about how monetizing creativity through freelance opportunities is the next wave in employment. Here are the top five reasons you should begin to consider that your passion could lead to a fiscally sufficient income:
1. The freelance economy is booming.
There is a growing number of people finding their calling in the freelancing marketplace. Lee says that close to 35 percent of the American workforce currently does some sort of freelance work to make ends meet. More aggressive predictions place 40 percent of Americans as solopreneurs by 2020. This kind of growth indicates a few things. First, it shows a growing level of comfort with working independently, something that with time, creates a much more satisfied workforce. It also demonstrates the ability that humans have to adjust based on environment, something that will help navigate the changes caused by AI and robotics replacing jobs.
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2. AI/ deep learning is replacing human jobs.
Jobs are being replaced at rapid rates by robotic innovation and AI applications. Most people are familiar with physically based positions like warehousing and manufacturing jobs being replaced or reduced in number, but with advances in machine learning, AI will slowly begin to replace knowledge based roles as well.
Lee explained, “ AI is going to start to replace people in thought industries because it can now mimic human intuition. The question is not whether or not this will happen, it’s just a question of how we will respond.”
If it can be taught, computers will do it, and that’s why human creativity is about to become much more lucrative.
3. If robots can’t replicate it, people can’t.
“Creativity is your brand,” declares Lee. He explains that while AI is rapidly replacing human labor, one thing it isn’t doing is replacing creativity. AI is still capable of participating in creative ventures, but the way AI performs tasks are fundamentally different. Lee put it this way, “Replacing a famous artist will not serve AI’s purpose, nor will it add any value by doing so.” Essentially your creative spark is exactly that, yours, and no machine can replace it.
4. Your calling is your expertise.
When people can do what they love, they will realize their potential, and organically differentiate themselves in the marketplace. A recent Gallup poll estimated the average workweek to be 47 hours. So if jobs are being cut by machine learning, yet people are working more, how do we best capitalize on this?
Lee’s belief is that this is perfect timing for the coming wave of AI innovation. Because people are more accustomed to pursuing what they love, they’re more likely to be successful in the new economy.
5. Entrepreneurship driven by passion is fun.
There are plenty of stories of how his time working with freelancers has taught him the value of being a solopreneur. A great example came from a member based in South Korea. She is a pastry chef and was planning a trip to San Francisco. She managed to find a place to rent with a kitchen, so she hosted a Verlocal event where her followers were able to learn how to make her cupcakes that were famous in her hometown. She made enough to cover the rental and fund most of her trip.
This is one of the many examples as to why the freelancing economy has the potential to help humans navigate the upcoming changes in employment environments. Lee says that it’s his goal to, “help individuals build businesses and better themselves and their livelihoods through self-discovery.”
If you’ve ever had an idea you wanted to pursue, something that required you to be creative, or to share the things you’re passionate about, now is the time to get moving. With more and more online marketplaces allowing you to monetize your passions, there’s no excuse to be sitting at your desk wishing you were doing something else. AI might be taking certain jobs away from humans, but that means it’s freeing us up to do what we love, giving us opportunities to be better humans.