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ChatGPT is already stealing work from freelancers – and thousands of euros

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ChatGPT is already stealing work from freelancers – and thousands of euros

For some freelancers on platforms like Upwork and Fiverr, the introduction of Chat GPT has had a negative impact on their income. Getty Images

The popularity of Chat GPT has already resulted in reduced income for some freelancers on freelance portals Upwork and Fiverr.

Freelancers who complete writing-related tasks have felt the biggest impact.

There are still ways for freelancers to thrive in the age of AI.

This is a machine translation of an article from our US colleagues at Business Insider. It was automatically translated and checked by a real editor.

In the US, a record 39 percent of the workforce worked freelance last year, explains the freelance platform Upwork. In Germany, solo self-employed people became self-employed according to the Federal Statistical Office only 3.9 percent of the workforce. But this year, the growing popularity of Chat GPT is threatening some of those jobs.

One study published in July by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis and New York University examined how the November 2022 launch of the generative AI tool Chat GPT affected the income of Upwork freelancers. The most important result: Freelancers whose work came most heavily into contact with AI earned over five percent less in April 2023 than before the chatbot was introduced. Additionally, researchers said workers who focused on writing-related tasks were among the most affected.

It’s not just Upwork freelancers who earn less. Sheraz Shoukat, an Australia-based freelancer who provides various writing services on the Fiverr platform offers, said tools like Chat GPT have resulted in lower demand for his work.

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“The impact on our revenue is huge, and to be honest, in a negative way,” he told Business Insider. He said some freelancers’ earnings have fallen from about $2,500 to $3,000 ($2,296 to $2,755) a month to about $1,000 today.

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Shoukat is among the many workers around the world watching how the AI ​​boom will impact their jobs in the coming years. The rise of generative AI tools like Chat GPT could expose millions of jobs to automation and force many workers to change careers in the next decade.

Freelancers, who often have narrow specializations, could be the workers “most at risk from automation,” Oxford economist Carl Benedikt Frey told Business Insider.

“If all you do is copy editing, translation or web design, generative AI is more capable of replacing you than if you are part of a larger organization or team where you perform a bunch of tasks “, he said.

As AI tools make it easier for companies’ internal employees to complete certain tasks, demand for certain types of freelance work may decline, said Mark Muro, a technology and workforce development expert and policy director at the Brookings Institution.

“In many areas, Chat GPT may be the freelancer and could reduce the number of freelancers,” he said, adding that this dynamic could play out in “higher risk professions” such as marketing, media, writing and advertising.

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How freelance writers can thrive in the age of AI

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Some freelancers have found work as AI content editors, often editing, reviewing, and adding a human touch to their clients’ AI-generated content. According to a report from the company, searches on Fiverr for freelancers increased along with it AI content editing capabilities between May and October in the US by over 7,000 percent compared to the previous six-month period.

Other freelancers have found ways to produce valuable original content even in the age of AI. Ben Baker, a 56-year-old part-time freelancer, covers events, explains court decisions and regulations, and writes product reviews. He explained to Business Insider that he was able to further increase his income as a freelancer because much of his work requires expertise that AI doesn’t have.

“AI can tell you how the court ruled,” he said, giving an example of his work, “but it can’t tell you how that decision can be applied to different situations.”

Baker says he gets about a third of his work through freelance platforms like Fiverr and the rest through direct contacts he’s made with online publications. He has some advice for other freelance writers: bring your writing to life, showcase your expertise, and include real people in your content as often as possible. “AI is hard to beat when you compete with it,” he adds, “You have to find something it can’t do.”

Are you a freelancer and your salary has been affected by the rise of generative AI like Chat GPT – for better or for worse? If so, and if you’re willing to share details about your salary, contact our editors under [email protected].

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