Automation and the Gig Economy

Automation and the Gig Economy

The need for an efficient and reliable means of providing goods and services to a rapidly growing population is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity and the future of labor.

While we have proposed many solutions over the years, automation has emerged as one of the most promising means of addressing this problem. Technological advancements such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, and robotics are paving the way for this change.

We believe that there is a fundamental shift in the way humans interact with technology that will dramatically affect how we produce goods and services. As we continue to use technology to automate processes in our daily lives, there will be a significant impact on how our society functions. 

We will witness the disappearance of many jobs, but new jobs will emerge that were not possible before automation. It is critical that we understand what this means for society and provide guidance for this transition so that we do it in a way that promotes growth while maintaining productivity.

One area where we have seen the potential of job automation to be useful is in remote work or “gig economy” employment, where we hire individuals to perform tasks for clients on an as-needed basis.

In order to effectively address these issues we must first understand how these new jobs fit into the current economy and what role they will play in the future.

What is Automation?

Automation refers to a process that uses digital technologies to perform tasks that humans previously performed. We can implement automation through robotics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, or even human labor itself (for example, through 3D printing).

The automation can take place at an individual level (where people use machines like Amazon’s Alexa) or we can apply it to multiple workers (where companies use robots like ABB’s Robotic Arm).

Automation and the Gig Economy
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In general automation reduces human involvement in a process with a goal of increasing efficiency and quality of service. The use of automation is a means to reduce costs and increase efficiency.

For example, imagine that it costs $20,000 to produce a new piece of equipment for a factory. Instead of hiring people to do the work, automation can perform the same task at a much lower cost.

This is why automation is so useful in industries that are highly labor intensive. As long as the cost of the automation is less than the savings from automation, then automation will be a great benefit to an industry.

How does this apply to the gig economy?

The use of automation in gig economy jobs can take many forms. Automation can take place at the individual level (using tools like Amazon’s Alexa) or we can apply it to multiple workers (using companies like TaskRabbit).

We can also apply it at a company level (using companies like Uber and Lyft). Regardless of how we implement it, automation will reduce human involvement in a process with a goal of increasing efficiency and quality of service.

In order to understand how this applies to the gig economy, we must first understand what it means for an individual to work remotely or as a “gig worker.”

What is “gig worker”?

Gig economy workers is a slang term describing skilled workers who perform tasks as a freelancer or contractors.  There are many types of gig workers, but most them are self-employed, and they earn their income through various means.

For example, Uber drivers can be considered gig workers because they can drive for Uber while also earning money through other means (such as driving for Lyft). Many gig workers work from home.

They use tools like TaskRabbit to find jobs, connect with clients, and complete the job themselves. Some of these jobs involve services that require physical interaction with clients (such as plumbers or gardeners).

Automation and the Gig Economy
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In this case, the gig worker will perform the job in person at the client’s location. The role of automation in these gigs is critical because it can greatly reduce costs and increase efficiency.

For example, consider a plumber who works at a customer’s home for $150 per hour. If he performs all of his work by hand, then he will spend roughly 6 hours on average working at the customer’s home.

However, if he uses an automated system like TaskRabbit to find jobs and complete his work online from his home, then he can complete the same work in about 1 hour. That means that he will spend roughly 1/3 of his time at the customer’s home instead of 6 hours.

As a result, he will be able to earn $150 per hour without spending any time working at the customer’s home. Gig workers are highly skilled, and they are using automation to maximize their efficiency.

If the use of automation continues to grow in the gig economy, then it is very likely that gig workers will be a significant portion of society in the future.

Automation and Gig Economy

It is possible that automation will become a larger part of the gig economy in the foreseeable future. It is also possible that it will cause job losses among the gig workers. This is because automation can be used in many ways.

It can be used to replace workers (which is how it is being used in the gig economy today) or it can be used to complement workers (which is how it was used in the industrial revolution).

Automation and the Gig Economy
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Regardless of which form it takes, automation will decrease human involvement in a process with a goal of increasing efficiency and quality of service.

Find more interesting articles about automation and gig economy on WorkDeputy blog!