The AI technology may bring more negative impacts on the sharing economy which needs timely attention.
AI technology and sharing economy are two of the most revolutionary forces shaping the future of work and changing the traditional industries. With the rise of Uber and Airbnb which are the two software using AI technology, the AI technology has become more popular under the sharing economy module. The sharing economy mainly refers to an economic system in which individuals and organizations share resources, services through digital platforms. AI technology is a guaranteed technology for the continued prosperity and development of the sharing economy because AI technology can produce safe and dependable results which can assist software like Uber and Airbnb that have to anticipate customer to provide better services to customers (CircleBack, 2015). However, although the AI technology is widely used in the software, it has also caused controversy among the public because its positive and negative effects. Thus, this essay will mainly focus on the future impacts of the AI technology on the sharing economy. It will analyze both the positive and negative impacts and the prospects of the sharing economy platforms.
The positive impacts of AI technology on the sharing economy
Platforms for the sharing economy can use AI technology to enhance user experience (Mining Technology, 2022). Uber and Airbnb are the two giants in the sharing economy platform. Although they have made some large profits by using AI technology, the development of AI technology is very rapid which they can have positive impacts on sharing economy platforms in the future. The AI technology has brought some huge changes to the transportation industry. Uber has up until now followed a business model where users can see all the cars passing by them on the app, and the app uses the AI technology to match the best driver or vehicle with the route and cost after the user requests a ride (Sahin, 2020). The AI technology is trying to take the process of Uber to a new level. A number of companies, including Waymo are working to create autonomous vehicles that can navigate different urban environments using AI, which could eventually result in driverless technology. If this technology can be produced in the future decades, it can enhance and improve the user experience and attract a wider audience of users, especially by offering specialized transportation services for people with disabilities. It can also reduce the labor costs (Frackiewicz, 2023).
Moreover, AI technology can make the sharing economy safer in the future (Prigge, 2021). The AI technology could be at the heart of the sharing economy. Although the AI technology has been developed very successful, the safety is still the main issue. According to the US Uber safety report (2019), there were about 6000 sexual assaults between drivers and passengers from 2017 to 2018. This also leads to many passengers have lost faith in Uber drivers which they don’t believe the drivers are who they claim to be. In order to solve this problem and make the sharing economy platforms safer in the future, the CEO of Jumio, Robert Prigge (2021) has pointed out that can use the AI technology for identity verification for the drivers or food deliver. Consider Uber as an example. A government-certified driver license, ID photo are required when new drivers open an account on the app, and they also need to take a selfie to verify their identity. Drivers can complete it with the aid of AI technology in a short amount of time. After that, the faces of these drivers werw recorded in Ubers’ files, the drivers must upload a new selfie each time they begin work in order to compare it to the previous image. AI technology makes this process quick and efficient which only take few seconds of the drivers’ time. This kind of measure is beneficial to user safety. Hence, with the help of AI technology, it can improve and enhance users experience and protect users’ safety while using the sharing economy platforms.
The negative impacts of AI technology on the sharing economy
However, there are also some people argued that although AI technology has played an important role in the sharing economy, it could negatively impact the economy by widening the gap between developed and developing countries (Szczepanski, 2019). The level of AI technology currently used in various countries is different. Because most of the leaders of AI technology are in the development countries, while some developing and backward countries may not have very complete AI technology which result in a widening gap between countries. The disadvantages caused by the lack of AI technology will have more negative impacts on developing than the positive effects. For example, the AI technology in the industrial industry can replace people’s skills which lead to a large number of employees to lose their jobs (Development aid, 2023). In addition, access to AI technology solutions is limited in some developing countries. According to ITU (n.d.), there are only about 40 percent of citizens can use the Internet in Africa and only 36 percent of citizens in the backward countries. While the Internet is necessary for the AI technology, these developing and backwards countries might not be able to benefit from the advancements brought by AI technology if there is a persistent lack of Internet access. For example, software such as Uber needs to use AI technology to plan routes for passengers, if there is not enough Internet and mature AI technology in these developing countries then this type of sharing economy platforms cannot be used. Thus, if these countries do not develop in the future, their citizens will not be able to enjoy the convenience brought by AI technology, which tend to a growing gap with developed countries and will have more negative impacts.
Meanwhile, with the development of AI technology, AI technology can be applied to various fields, but it will also increase inequality, lower wages or unemployment (Szczepanski, 2019). AI technology has advanced to the point where many factories now use assembly lines made with AI technology rather than manual labor for the majority of the work which has caused lower wages for many blue-collar workers and even forced them to lose jobs. The National Bureau of Economic Research in US has pointed out that the reduction in pay for blue-collar workers who were replaced or demoted by automation brought on by AI technology accounts for about 50% to 70% of changes in US wages (Acemoglu & Restrepo, 2021). For the high-tech professionals who can skillfully use AI technology are expecting an increase in pay with the growth of AI technology. However, the wages of middle and low-level employees will have a decrease with the development of AI technology. For instance, people with high-tech can use their knowledge to work in the companies which focus on the sharing economy and gain the high wages. Although PwC estimated that AI technology and other automation technologies will increase global GDP by about 1.5 billion US dollars by 2030, many jobs will be replaced as a consequence (PwC, 2018). For these reasons, if the AI technology continues to develop rapidly in the future which it may cause workers’ wages being depressed and the inequality of the wages between different classes of workers.
Although people believe that AI technology will have some certain negative impacts on the society in the future, AI technology is indeed everywhere in our daily lives and many daily-used software rely on the support of the AI technology in the 21st century.
In conclusion, there are both positive and negative impacts of AI technology on the sharing economy in the future. While the AI technology has positive impacts including it can improve users experience when using the sharing economy platforms and it can enhance the issue of online safety, the gap between developing and developed countries and the inequality of wages should also be emphasized. Meanwhile, to prevent AI technology from affecting the sharing economy, the AI technology and sharing economy platforms should also be aware of the changes brought on by AI technology in the future and make necessary adjustments in a timely manner.
Acemoglu, D., & Restrepo, P. (2021). Tasks, automation, and the rise in US wages inequality. National Bureau of Economic Research. https://doi.org/10.3386/w28920
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Szczepanski, M. (2019). Economic impacts of artificial intelligence. European Parliament. https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2019/637967/EPRS_BRI(2019)637967_EN.pdf
Uber. (2019). US Safety Report. Uber. https://www.uber-assets.com/image/upload/v1575580685/Documents/Safety/UberUSSafetyReport_201718_ExecutiveSummary.pdf
The Future Impact of AI Technology on the Sharing Economy © 2023 by Zheyi Bo is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0