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Why AI Can't Replace Freelancers and Take Over Jobs

Why AI Can't Replace Freelancers and Take Over Jobs

When we last wrote about how automation & AI will change the way businesses work with talent, I don’t think we expected the levels of automation that we are currently experiencing with the likes of GPT-4.

As a Marketing Director and millennial (you know - that sweet spot of a generation that went through a big chunk of life without iPhones), I struggle to think that my own job could be replaced by automation.

If Chat-GPT can write copy better than most human copywriters, if it can spit out a book (and a pretty decent one at that actually) within minutes, drive cars better than the average human, the question of whether artificial intelligence (AI) can replace human beings at work is, frighteningly, not an unreasonable one at all.  

Let’s take a look at the creative industry in particular, as this is where the question of whether AI can replace talent is most relevant at the moment. According to research, 33% of the CCI’s (Culture and Creative Industries) workforce are freelancers. In some subsectors of the creative world, that stat goes up to a whopping 70%. So, are these freelance jobs in danger? 

If you’re a freelancer in the creative industry, here are some reasons why you needn’t start pivoting into AI engineer roles just yet.

Reasons why AI can’t replace freelancers

1. Human creativity can’t be replicated

Can AI create hundreds of variations of content (email, blog posts, press releases, ad copy etc.), within minutes? Yes. Can it improve copy - making it punchier, clearer or more engaging? Absolutely. Can it create an out-of-the-box concept that is based on in-depth understanding of human emotions? No, it cannot. Without human judgment and creativity, AI is simply the catalyst, never the creative input. 

2. AI content issues

  • Duplication of content

When it comes to millions of users typing in similar queries (“write a book about AI”) or “write an article on the tech economy”, we are bound to run the risk of ending up with tons of duplicates out there, or, at best, multiple variations of the same thing.

  • False claims

Bots can dig up relevant facts or statistics to quote within content (if you ask them to), but in addition to not having the element of human judgment required to select the most appropriate ones, they are also likely to bring up outdated facts and data. This is often the case because AI bots are not always fed data in real-time, so their facts are likely to be out of date. In particular, Chat GPT’s data seems to be limited to 2021

3. Original thought

The basis of how AI works is by combining vast amounts of data with intelligent algorithms and processes leading into a form of mapping, or deductive reasoning that replicates or depicts the human brain. In plain terms, it takes what you feed it, analyzes it, and puts it to use, but it won’t come up with something that’s not already there, thus eliminating the possibility of originality, or “fresh ideas”. 

4. It has knowledge, not experience

The Oxford Dictionary defines learning as “the acquisition of knowledge or skills through study, experience, or being taught.” As human beings, we have an incredible and irreplicable ability to learn through experience - including what we call our successes or failures in life - and to adapt or make future decisions based on those. Not having these experiences provides a fundamental fault in the ability of an automation tool to learn, develop and mature in the same way.

Ironically, GPT-4 has put it better than me:

"While AI is a powerful tool that can help automate some tasks, it is unlikely to replace the role of freelancers anytime soon. Freelancers bring a unique set of skills and qualities to the table that AI cannot replicate, and their human touch and creativity are highly valued by clients.

While AI has made significant advances in recent years, it is still not capable of fully replacing freelancers. Here are a few reasons why:  Creativity: AI is excellent at automating repetitive and structured tasks, but it is not good at generating creative and innovative ideas, which is often the primary value that freelancers bring to the table.  Emotional intelligence: Freelancers often work closely with clients, and part of their job involves building relationships and understanding their clients' needs and preferences. This requires emotional intelligence, which is not something AI can currently replicate.  Human touch: AI lacks the human touch that freelancers can provide. Clients often prefer to work with real people who can offer personalized services and adapt to their unique needs.  Specialized skills: Freelancers are often hired for their specialized skills and expertise, which can take years to acquire. While AI can be trained to perform certain tasks, it may not have the depth of knowledge and experience that a skilled freelancer can provide.

AI is an asset to freelancers, not a replacement

Benefits of AI tools:

  1. Improves productivity and efficiency
  2. Automates mundane tasks
  3. Frees up time to focus on creativity
  4. Unblock writer’s block
  5. Cheaper for businesses than hiring copywriters


Cons of AI tools:

  1. Anyone can learn how to use it 
  2. Unable to work outside the boundaries of their programming
  3. Cold emails will increase because it will be easier to produce content
  4. We won’t know when a human is speaking
  5. Admin-heavy copywriter jobs will be replaced

Here’s why AI tools can’t replace freelancers 

Innovative and progressive tools like Chat-GPT are undoubtedly beneficial in many ways, particularly for under-staffed, boot-strapped businesses who need to get things done efficiently. Automation is the future (and our bread and butter at and whichever way we look at it, AI can help businesses improve productivity, save costs and grow. Leaner businesses mean more jobs, as paradoxical as that sounds. 

So, whilst AI tools do pose an immediate threat to admin-heavy, repetitive jobs in creative industries, there’s no need to start pivoting your career into robotics just yet. Creativity and human judgment are the key traits that AI bots do not possess (at least for now). With our unique ability to create emotional content and to think of innovative, fresh ideas - in combination with our continuous learning - us creatives are still far from being replaceable or obsolete. 

In a world where we’re not striving for mediocrity, where we want to write the new “Anna Karenina's" of the world, freelancers and contractors in creative jobs (design, marketing, advertising, copywriting and more) have nothing to worry about.

Speak to us to find out how we can help you automate contractor processes