In recent years, technology has advanced rapidly, and fields such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have experienced tremendous growth.
For example, in 2023, a new AI-powered chatbot ChatGPT took the world by storm, gathering millions of daily users in days. More and more systems are bound to appear in the future.
However, AI and ML technologies need huge amounts of data to be developed. The algorithms use large datasets and improve their predictive capabilities.
As a result, humans can provide real-world data in various fields to help technological advancement.
How to increase the speed of technological progress? The gig economy and micro-tasks could be the answer.
Let’s check how the rapidly growing gig market provides a necessary boost for developing the latest technologies.
The Gig Economy: Key Characteristics
The gig economy is a market that relies on freelance work or short-term contracts rather than full-time employment.
It provides an opportunity for individuals to earn income by working on specific projects, primarily through online platforms or apps.
Flexibility is the sector’s key advantage for workers and companies. It allows workers to create their schedules and select the jobs they want to work on.
It gives them a flexible solution to support their primary source of income. On the other hand, businesses get access to a global on-demand workforce.
In this way, companies can manage their costs more effectively – there is no need to hire permanent workers to complete various projects.
How big is the global gig economy market? In 2023, the sector size is projected to reach $455B, according to data from Statista.
The high-inflation economic environment accelerated the industry’s growth significantly as more people turned to the gig economy to find earning opportunities to support themselves and their families.
The gig economy relies heavily on freelancing platforms like Upwork or Fiverr.
These platforms provide a variety of short-term gigs that can be completed by experienced professionals, such as writers, graphic designers, or web developers.
Other significant contributors to the gig economy include services like food delivery or Uber.
Other types of platforms in the gig economy offer micro-tasks – simple jobs that people can complete with no previous experience or expert skills.
This means that a vast number of people can complete such tasks, which can be beneficial in developing future technology.
Micro-Tasks: A Way To Drive Technological Advancement
Micro-tasking or micro-work involves breaking down large projects into smaller, more manageable tasks that freelancers or independent workers can complete.
Unlike traditional freelancing, where a project is typically completed from start to finish, micro-tasking allows individuals to take on small, specific tasks that require a limited skill set.
Micro-tasks enable companies to divide complex projects into small work that independent workers can complete.
Instead of completing a project from beginning to end, micro-tasking enables individuals to achieve small, specific tasks.
As a result, people globally complete specific micro-jobs that contribute to building datasets. These are later used for training ML and AI models.
The best example of this is reCAPTCHA solving. Essentially, people around the world recognize pieces of information, such as text or images.
This data is then used to train, for example, Google’s AI algorithm — a distributed pool of people completing small pieces of work to help train AI technology.
There are other types of micro-tasks, too. These include translation, image labeling, and describing products, among others.
The micro-task market is vast – prominent players like Amazon and Google have created their micro-job platforms, with smaller competitors catching up quickly.
Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk), Clickworker, and Google Task Mate are current platforms specializing in micro-tasking. People can register, complete tasks, and get paid in return.
As the globally distributed pool of workers completes tasks, collecting vast amounts of data becomes more accessible, which ultimately aids the development of AI and ML technologies.
Some platforms aim to integrate blockchain technology into the process. The main difference is that the payment received by workers is in crypto rather than fiat currency.
An example is JumpTask, a marketplace that pays workers in exchange for them doing micro-tasks. However, blockchain platforms are new and need further development and improvements.
The gig economy and micro-tasking are rapidly growing. They are also acting as a catalyst for developing machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms.
As thousands of people do micro-tasks worldwide, massive data sets are compiled, which are used to train AI models. As the micro-task market expands, people will play a crucial role in helping to advance technological development.