Are Bangladeshi freelancers in danger of AI taking over their jobs?
The world has dramatically transformed its functions over the past few decades. And with the current fourth industrial revolution, the nature of life as we know it is being changed again.
One of the most vital factors driving this change is the constant enhancement of Artificial Intelligence (AI) at breakneck speeds. Lately, there has been a lot of excitement and hypothetical discussion regarding AI.
For starters, AI is gradually getting integrated into our writing, content creation, and other creative fields., leading to the fear that it could eventually occupy the space of humans in the workplace.
Considering the circumstances, the freelancing industry in Bangladesh could be impacted by the integration of AI. Owing to its rapidly growing economy, Bangladesh has emerged as a hub for freelancers offering services in content development, graphic design, software development and digital marketing.
There are at least 10,50,000 active freelancers in Bangladesh, according to the Bangladesh Freelancer Development Society (BFDS) sources. However, unofficial estimates place that number significantly higher.
Moreover, Bangladesh routinely ranked as one of the leading countries favoured by employers and was the 8th largest exporter of online labour in 2019, according to a Payoneer survey. Furthermore, freelancers in Bangladesh are estimated to generate more than US $100 million annually, according to the ICT Division.
Thus, this US $100 million industry could suffer due to breakthroughs in the AI spectrum. Image-generating programs like DALL-E and Midjourney have enabled anyone to produce their artistic creations while sitting at home, and ChatGPT has already demonstrated its potential by creating scripts, narratives, and codes for software development when provided with the necessary prompts.
At first glance, developing AI and automation technologies could reduce the demand for human labour in the freelance sector. As AI develops, it is projected that more tasks, especially those related to content writing, graphic designing, programming, analysis and reporting, will be automated. Therefore, It could cause a massive loss of jobs for freelancers in these sectors in Bangladesh.
AI is designed to be a tool that can help people by making their lives and jobs easier. However, AI is intended to improve and expand human capabilities, not replace them. AI systems require continual updating and supervision to ensure proper operation and avoid inaccuracies and biases. Moreover, AI also needs human supervision and administration. As a result, there will always be a need for human professionals who are knowledgeable about AI and capable of managing its use and implementation. Furthermore, human intervention is also needed to train AI systems and constantly update their data sets, as AI is still nascent.
Although AI has many possible applications, not all jobs are compatible. Also, the effect of AI on the labour market will differ depending on the particular sector and type of employment. Most importantly, AI is only sometimes a universally applicable solution.
Given the exponential growth of industrial automation and AI, public and private organisations must engage in education and training programs to assist employees in developing the right skills necessary to work with these advancing technologies. AI is a tool that can support and supplement human intelligence, not replace it. However, it is essential to upskill workers with the ability to manage AI so that they don't get left behind.