Generative AI Already Taking White Collar Jobs and Wages in Online Freelancing World

In an ingenious study published this summer, US researchers showed that within a few months of the launch of ChatGPT, copywriters and graphic designers on major online freelancing platforms saw a significant drop in the number of jobs they got, and even steeper declines in earnings. This suggested not only that generative AI was taking their work, but also that it devalues the work they do still carry out.

Most strikingly, the study found that freelancers who previously had the highest earnings and completed the most jobs were no less likely to see their employment and earnings decline than other workers. If anything, they had worse outcomes. In other words, being more skilled was no shield against loss of work or earnings. But the online freelancing market covers a very particular form of white-collar work and of labour market. What about looking higher up the ranks of the knowledge worker class? For that, we can turn to a recent, fascinating Harvard Business School study, which monitored the impact of giving GPT-4, OpenAI’s latest and most advanced offering, to employees at Boston Consulting Group.

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