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AI is Coming for the Easy Digital Nomad Jobs

AI-powered apps can now automate a growing range of tasks, like scheduling appointments, managing social media accounts, and copywriting. << They wrote that sentence for me. They also made the illustrations for this post. They can do many of the gig jobs that so many digital nomads loved to casually do while traveling. The days of easy, free-wheeling remote jobs paying enough to keep the journey going are coming to an end.

Questionable work but fast and cheap

Copywriting robots are better at writing than people. They can write blog posts that flow better and use words in a way that makes the post easier to read. For example, if someone wrote a sentence like “If you’re working for a company and your job doesn’t require you to be present in-person, somebody (or something) is currently drawing up plans to make you permanently not present and replace you with a non-person,” then the robot could help rephrase it so it fits better into the rest of the blog post by adding more words or changing how the sentence is written. This makes it easier for readers to understand what is being said. << I wrote the sentence in quotations but a robot wrote the text around it critiquing my writing.

So far, I wouldn’t agree with the first sentence in that paragraph the AI wrote, that “copywriting robots are better at writing than people”. They frequently get information incorrect, but share it confidently, without any uncertainty or nuance.

They also write with a uniquely vapid style that looks passable on the surface but your high-school English teacher would rip apart for lacking any substance. If companies are hiring random gig workers online, though, they might be more focused on making things quickly and cheaply. The AI writing bots will also improve their skills at an exponential speed. 

A digital nomad backpacker of 2024 tours the streets of Rome.
Robots want to go backpacking in Italy, too. They can recite Dante's "La Divina Commedia" from memory.

How can digital nomads adapt to remote jobs disappearing?

I asked Google’s Bard AI how digital nomads should adapt to the challenge of AI replacing all of the jobs digital nomads wanted, and it offered this list of helpful-sounding, but vague tips that are surely designed to make you feel you’re staying ahead of it while it leapfrogs over you:

  • Focus on high-value skills. As AI becomes more sophisticated, it will continue to automate low-value tasks. To stay ahead of the curve, digital nomads need to focus on developing high-value skills that cannot be easily automated.
  • Network with other digital nomads. The digital nomad community is a vibrant and supportive network of people who can help you find work and learn new skills. Make sure to connect with other digital nomads in your field and stay up-to-date on the latest trends in the gig economy.
  • Be prepared to adapt. The world of work is changing rapidly, and digital nomads need to be prepared to adapt to change. Be willing to learn new skills and explore new opportunities as they arise.

That list above is a good example of AI writing (as of April, 2023). It can’t stray out of that vague aphorisms boilerplate language unless the person writing the prompts gives it specific examples to use. Those same tips are general enough you could apply them to any profession. Donut bakers can also benefit from focusing on high-value skills, networking with other bakers, and being prepared to adapt.

A robot digital nomad at the beach coding on their computer with several coffee cups on their table and in the sand.
ProductivityBotDelta35 now realized it was true: Doing work at the beach IS impractical.

A digital nomad job tip (from a human)...

With companies like Meta, Alphabet, and Microsoft shedding staff and forcing employees back into the office, the well-paid end of the digital nomad spectrum is getting hit. Read more about that here: “Will big tech layoffs burst the digital nomad hype bubble?

In addition to that, AI will automate many of the remote jobs humans could do asynchronously from a Chiang Mai café with minimal training. That’ll impact the backpacker end of the digital nomad spectrum. 

So here’s a job tip from a human: You matter. Interacting with you and what you uniquely bring to an interaction with another human is going to be what makes you stand out from a robot that knows far more than you know. It’s your kindness, your caring, what you give to interactions, how you build community with others, your unique perceptions and experiences. Your humanity is your most valuable job skill now.

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  1. Pingback: Will big tech layoffs burst the Digital Nomad hype bubble? • The Mindful Field Guide

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