Many employees are worried about artificial intelligence entering the workplace. No, I'm not talking about the 20-something Millennial your company hired last week; I'm talking about real robots here!
But there's one group of workers who think AI in the workplace won't be a big deal. The self-employed -- okay, I'll pause while you scoff and say, "Ha, like they even have real jobs!" -- are one group that welcomes our digital overlords to the workplace. Basically, independent contractors are the anti-Gilfoyle.
A Qdos Contractor study of more than 1,500 contractors in the United Kingdom reveals half think robots will have "little impact" on their careers, while another 21% think robots will have a "big, positive impact" on their careers. Verging on half surveyed (47%) think robots and AI could lead to more work coming their way, not less.
Only 11% of contractors surveyed see robots as potentially having a "big, negative impact" on their careers. The rest (18%) don't know what to think yet.
I'll stop writing so you can breathe into a paper bag and wander through the uncanny valley of your own digital despair. The robots are coming, they're made of metal, and they're smart. They never, ever ask for a day off, and -- as we discussed last week -- they could very well be hurting our overall health.
What might account for this rosy AI outlook from the contractor community? Well -- and this is just my opinion based on personal experience -- contractors tend to be optimists and opportunity seekers by nature. They pride themselves on their flexibility, and ability to adapt in a changing marketplace. If they work hard enough, they can make it work.
But can they beat the robots at their own game? Will the robots return their calls, and respond to their business pitches when they reach management level? We'll see. In the meantime, if you need to feel reassured about the upsides of workplace AI, go talk to an independent contractor. And yes, they have real jobs.