The world’s workforce was facing massive upheaval the moment Uber hit the scene. Uber wasn’t the creator of the gig economy, the gig economy had been around for as long as we can remember, but it meant “mainstreaming the gigs”.
Uber’s disruption of the transportation industry wasn’t that powerful because it got drivers to do gigs, it was already possible. It was powerful due to its powerful use of AI and technology to connect random drivers with drivers through their powerful app. This marked the first most publicized foray into the industry by AI, and it quickly became the norm.
The kick in the pit of your stomach for ride-hailing giants like Uber and Lyft came when many drivers started treating the job for less than a gig and more than a full-time job. Uber wanted people to use their services to make some extra cash on the side, but their drivers soon realized that with 80 or more hours a week, they often had better incomes than their normal jobs.
People started working full-time for driver service providers and quitting their jobs. With full-time employment come the expectations of full-time salaries that Uber and Co. did not want to give. As incidents of assault, sudden inexplicable deactivation of accounts, and constant cuts in income raged, drivers demanded full-time benefits and a change in their recognition from independent contractors to workers. In many ways, despite Uber’s attempts to reassure drivers, these battles are still going on
The battle between ride-hailing companies and their drivers underscores the core problems of the gig economy with the infiltration of AI. As companies continue to employ gig workers, they continue to exploit these workers for their “invisibility”, their tentative nature and their perceived inability to unionize.
One sad conversation with a rider trapped in this broken ride-hailing system was enough to convince Firdosh Sheikh to start DRIFE, a ride-hailing company focused on providing a more equitable and ethical ride – To provide a hailing experience.
Sheikh’s strong desire to build an equity business for these drivers led her to begin developing a platform that would democratize ridesharing. The DRIFE model uses a powerful platform that enables drivers to earn a livable income by taking home 100% of the income for a low subscription fee. Drivers can also save a lot of money as there is no middleman.
“The ride-hailing debacle of the last 5 years is proof that the use of technology and AI without empathy can paralyze a system with so much potential,” says Sheikh.
“On the other hand, we’re working hard on DRIFE to show people that technology can do justice when used with empathy. Whatever problems technology causes, only technology can solve. For this reason, the gig economy will not become fairer with less AI and technology, but with more humane and fairer applications of these technologies.
AI and the gig economy
Sheik’s mood is popular with the upper echelons of the gig economy. There is a growing resignation to the fact that AI has arrived and for good reason the rapid rise of AI solutions is terrifying of everything. The only solution seems to be a change of perspective.
While it’s true that robots and AI-powered systems are replacing workers in the gig economy, it’s also true that all of the freelance platforms and the platforms that connect gig workers to employers are either already AI-powered or heading in that direction . That means AI may create more jobs than it takes.
The gig economy may offer businesses and businesses cost-effective options for getting things done, but it doesn’t automatically make it easy to find a solution. AI-powered platforms have started using data to help both gig workers and employers find exactly what they need.
AI creates the right fit
The “fit” of a pairing is often the catalyst for more justice and fairness in working conditions. For example, freelance writing platforms like Clearvoice have perfected their AI platform matching so employers can find the best niche writers for their jobs. This is responsible for why their platform is one of the most profitable for writers.
AI’s ability to analyze and interpret data makes it extremely effective at finding good matches for gig workers and businesses.
Sheik also highlights this “fit” phenomenon as one of the reasons why DRIFE will be so successful; “If people can’t find exactly what they need and what they can afford, then there can be no fairness in a system. In our model, for example, a driver can identify all available drivers in a certain radius, but the drivers can send bids to the driver. This allows the driver to choose the best fit for them based on personal parameters, cost, proximity, reputation and even gender. This leads to renegotiations and thus to fairness. “
AI fills the education vacuum for gig workers
AI is also changing the nature of certain tasks. As a result, many of the people who performed these tasks are no longer qualified to perform their more technology-dependent equivalent.
These AI-inspired developments require workers in the gig economy to undergo further training and retraining in order to find sustainable relevance. This need is also met through the use of AI-supported learning, which facilitates the acquisition of micro and macro skills. This only underscores the Sheikh’s point of view that only technology can solve the problems it poses.
The proliferation of AI-powered edtech companies is one reason why the participants in the gig economy are growing rapidly. These platforms are easy to use, very customizable, and less expensive than traditional education or one-to-one tuition.
AI improves gig worker performance
The most obvious benefit that gig workers get from AI is the targeted marketing of their services through social media. However, AI is also used in more relevant ways.
AI-powered solutions that improve accuracy, check for errors, and make intelligent suggestions to the gig worker are invaluable and increasingly available in all areas of the gig economy.
For example, Grammarly not only improves the accuracy of a freelance writer’s work, but also makes personalized suggestions and suggestions on how to improve it.
Several apps are starting to incorporate smart suggestions and personalized nudges that tell the user a feature they could benefit from or direct them to a resource that could be helpful in performing their task.
Every gig worker knows that higher performance means higher ability to charge and earn.
The future of AI and the gig economy
Sheikh is one voice among many others who express optimism for the gig economy.
“More tools, more AI software and more technology would be developed to help freelancers and gig economy workers,” says Sheik.
“We are doing just that in the ride hailing industry with DRIFE, and many other brilliant entrepreneurs are doing the same in other industries. I think the future of this relationship between AI and gigs lies in developing more useful tools. “
The future is AI-driven. In today’s world, data is king, and the ability to understand and manipulate data will give everyone an advantage. Like any other industry, the gig economy will have to evolve.