How AI Can Help You in Life & Business


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Upwork research shows that business leaders are split on the exact impact generative AI, also known as GenAI, will have on job disruption. 42% say that the technology is primarily an augmentation tool, while 58% say they view generative AI as an automation tool.

While opinions differ, there’s no argument that AI will change the ways people work. A full 90% of business leaders globally plan to increase their workforce in the next 12 months as a result of generative AI. And 54% agree that the technology can do more than speed up repetitive tasks—it can help teams truly innovate.

Whether you fall into the augmentation or the automation camp, you’ll want to embrace AI as a way to work differently. If you don’t, you may find your business losing its competitive advantage as the technology continues to advance.

Finding our place amid waves of change

Business changes related to AI won’t happen overnight. Technological change happens in waves.

But when there’s a technological breakthrough that happens on a very public scale—like the public release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT in November 2022—the wave can feel like a tsunami.

Many people can be caught off-guard by massive upheavals to the status quo, and this can create a feeling of resistance to something like a brand-new technology. But history shows us that leaders who embrace change see the rewards that times of upheaval can bring.

Looking to history as an example

The way in which we cool our perishable food is a good example of change occurring in waves.

In the first wave, we saw the commercialization of ice production. Homes and apartments were furnished with iceboxes, and ice delivery companies began bringing large blocks of ice to homes.

The second wave came with the invention of refrigeration in the 1800s. When electric refrigerators first hit the market, it may have been understandably concerning to some ice delivery companies—would they be put out of business? After all, more homes with refrigerators would mean less of a demand for ice delivery.

Early home refrigerators were extremely expensive, though, and very few people could afford them. This created a decades-long transition period where people still relied on iceboxes. Eventually, though, refrigerators became more affordable—and in this third wave, home refrigeration was commonplace. But because this change didn’t happen overnight, home ice entrepreneurs had a chance to evaluate the market and potentially pivot to making other ice products, or even getting into the refrigerator sales and service business.

Even the invention of brewed coffee created pushback from clergy and community leaders who were wary of the effects it could have on the body. As brewed coffee spread across the world in waves—from Ethiopia to Yemen, Egypt, and later Europe—it was routinely met with curiosity, resistance, and ultimately broad acceptance in location after location. And as coffee grew in popularity, it created opportunities for new business, from farms and roasteries to coffee shops.

If you tried to tell many people they had to live without coffee and a refrigerator today, it wouldn’t go over well. These are two now-common things that make many people’s lives easier and more comfortable.

AI is no different. While the advent of generative AI feels sudden, engineers have been working on the technology since 1960, when a computer scientist at MIT created the first AI chatbot (called ELIZA). ELIZA was an early version of the large language models (LLMs) that still form the backbone of AI models Chat GPT-4 today.

After the creation of ELIZA, generative AI went through several waves of change, becoming more complex and capable with each passing decade.

In the 1970s, Marvin Minsky—founder of the MIT AI Lab—said that he expected generative AI to reach a level of average human intelligence within three to eight years. We’re still having those same conversations today, more than 40 years later.

And we can reasonably expect that this technology will one day feel as common and ubiquitous as your morning coffee—and the fridge you pull your creamer from.

Recognizing the evolution of human capabilities

We aren’t quite there yet, though. While generative AI is far more advanced now than when Minsky made his prediction, the technology is not about to replace people.

But the world is at a point where it can fundamentally change how work gets done. AI is now more readily accessible to everyone, and advances in computer science have made AI a force multiplier in nearly every industry. Users no longer need to be in an MIT computer science lag to experience the power of AI first hand—all they need is a modest home computer and a decent internet connection.  You no longer need to be at MIT to experience the power of generative AI first hand.

This is because the development of new technology, from refrigerators to AI-powered software, creates more work opportunities than it removes. Society evolves, innovates, and discovers new ways of working with new technology.

Think back to those home ice delivery companies—while you may not have ice delivered to your home now, chances are you might pick up a bag of commercially prepared ice cubes when getting ready for a picnic or party. Ice companies still exist, just not in the same way they did 150 years ago.

In the case of AI, these new opportunities focus on more complex tasks, creativity, and strategic thinking. Many talented independent professionals are already seeing the benefits of generative AI in their workflows.

“You can build amazing things that even just a few years ago would have required deep computer science skills,” said Abay Bektursun, an AI engineer. “My productivity right now is anywhere from 2x to 10x, sometimes.”

Balancing human and AI skill sets

As managing director of the Upwork Research Institute, I’m part of a team that’s uniquely positioned to see generative AI’s impact on work.

By looking at changes in the way clients and talent use our platform, my team in partnership with our Analytics team can begin to see what kind of impact AI may be having on different industries and roles.

My team studies this data and compares it to projections around the number of contracts on Upwork—and overall talent earnings—that may have occurred if ChatGPT hadn’t launched in 2022.

Interestingly, our data shows that the advent of generative AI models has increased both the total number of job posts made on Upwork and talent earnings per new contract created. This means that clients are more interested in working with independent talent than ever—and they’re paying a premium to do so.

However, we’re seeing most of this positive earnings growth on job posts that are considered “high value,” or resulting in a contract worth $1,000 or more. Low-value posts (resulting in contracts $251-500) are seeing a negative effect, with talent earning less on average.

This metric gives us even more insight into how AI is impacting different industries. For example, we’re seeing a positive earnings increase on job posts related to:

  • Engineering and architecture
  • Data science and analytics
  • Accounting and consulting

We’re seeing a decrease in talent earnings on job posts related to:

  • Customer service
  • Translation
  • Writing

This doesn’t mean that independent professionals with development or writing skills are out of work. Rather, it presents an opportunity for these individuals to take on new projects in related, AI-enhanced fields. Our research indicates that there are a growing number of opportunities available for people with emerging skills like:

  • AI content creation
  • Prompt engineering
  • Natural language processing (NLP)

Clients are also interested in working with talent that has experience using specific AI applications. Some of the most frequent generative AI tools searched for on our platform in the first half of 2023 include:

  • BERT
  • ChatGPT
  • Stable Diffusion
  • TensorFlow
  • Bard

What we can really take away from this is that the current wave of generative AI systems is all about augmenting, not replacing, human intelligence.

And that has the ability to be a game changer across all industries and roles—for those who are willing to embrace it.

Balancing competitive and cooperative skills

To fully benefit from AI’s augmentation of human skills, you need to know what, exactly, you want to get out of the technology both tactically and strategically. This goes for both talent interested in expanding their work opportunities through AI, as well as clients interested in innovation.

Humans are good at tasks that are uncertain, ambiguous, or require creative thinking. AI, meanwhile, excels at complexity by being able to recognize patterns that are hard to recognize with the human eye. As a result, there are a number of different skills that can be competitive with AI and cooperative with the technology.

Striking the right balance at work leads to beneficial augmentation and innovation.

Balancing competitive and cooperative skills

Leveraging AI for higher freelance earnings

When independent talent uses AI cooperatively and competitively, they can be ready to respond to the increasing number of job posts from clients seeking AI support. And like their corporate clients, independent talent can use AI as a way to both work faster and innovate like never before.

It may be helpful for independent professionals to start with taskification, or the process of breaking a job into smaller, discrete tasks. By deciding what is best handled by AI (complexity) or done themselves (ambiguity, uncertainty, creativity), talent can begin leveraging AI most effectively.

“I’m excited about the transformative properties of tapping generative AI to get work done,” said Bektursun. “I’m fielding a massive influx of requests from clients to provide custom AI solutions that center on figuring out the best way to apply generative AI to solve their business challenges.”

Some independent professionals gain their AI experience through direct, hands-on work, while others pursue a more formal education path.

“My first career pivot was getting my CPA license and then pursuing a career in technology after five years of doing financial accounting,” said Jacqueline DeStefano, a business intelligence and data visualization professional. “My second pivot occurred after I started my business, through learning generative AI and bringing it in as a strategic offering after upskilling tremendously … I went back and got a certification from MIT for machine learning and artificial intelligence to ensure I fully understood how this technology can build client-specific solutions.”

Embracing AI as a tool for business innovation

It’s not just up to talent to use AI, either. For businesses to really see positive impacts from AI—including unlocking new levels of work and innovation—leaders need to explore what AI may bring to their organization.

An increase in AI-related searches on Upwork during 2023 indicates that many companies are eager to embrace this technology. Failing to do so may result in a company falling behind its competitors—and quickly.

By breaking away from the way work has always been done and instead questioning how work can be better, companies can move from being consistent industry players to true work innovators. A full-throated embrace of AI may include:

  • Analyzing what the ideal future state for a business and its stakeholders looks like
  • Gaining a deeper understanding of the four types of generative AI talent and what they can bring to a company
  • Consulting with AI professionals to learn more about what’s possible with AI 

Bee Line Transport is an example of a company that’s done exactly this. General manager Ryan McCrae made the decision to move from a paper-based company to one that was fully digital. He needed someone to make it happen, though, and turned to Upwork—where he connected with Valere Labs.

Valere Labs, led by CEO Greg Pistone, helped McCrae digitally transform his entire trucking business with an application that lets drivers keep track of receipts, job details, and more, all from their phones. This saves McCrae and his team time—and money.

“We used to work with stacks of worksheets and tally them up one by one,” said McCrae. “With a small crew, time is money. You have to be efficient. If you’re duplicating work, you’re wasting time. With our new web-based system we are much more efficient, and everything moves smoothly.”

The cofounders of Lighthouse, a rental location service, are also seeing the impressive benefits of adding AI into their operations. Lighthouse relies on licensed real estate agents to help its customers find their perfect apartment—but now an always-on chatbot can help, too.

“We have a chatbot with access to 9,000 buildings and it’s always on, always super responsive,” said cofounder Matt See. “You can chat with the AI and tell it what you want, such as an apartment under $2,500 per month with a pool and a Starbucks nearby. The AI can tap into a lot of data sources to find exactly what you want; it does a really good job at that.”

Since launching the chatbot, Lighthouse’s agents can spend more time on high-value, high-touch work, like calling renters and apartment leasing offices.

Their ability to see which parts of their companies can be enhanced by the use of generative AI means that McCrae and See are already several steps ahead of competitors who may be reluctant to embrace the technology. In short, they’re acting as work innovators.

Innovating for the future

Ultimately, even though generative AI solutions—and the neural networks that power them—may seem daunting, it’s important to remember AI is just a tool. In this way it’s like a car, a computer, a refrigerator, or even the cup of coffee that helps you wake up each morning.

And as humans, we’re great at adapting to new tools to improve our work, our earnings, and our innovations. The key is to implement them thoughtfully and intentionally.  

The tools are at your disposal. It’s time to recognize any reticence you have about them, and to figure out how to use them—and create new opportunities in business.

This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by

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14 Practical Ways To Make Money with AI

14 Practical Ways To Make Money with AI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has reshaped how we live and do business. AI, the processing of information by machines to perform high-level tasks and solve problems, has become an integral part of our daily lives, including virtual assistants on our smartphones and recommendation systems on e-commerce platforms. According to IBM, 35% of companies

 are already using the power of AI, and this adoption is steadily growing.

One of the most compelling demonstrations of the potential of AI in our digital age is ChatGPT by OpenAI. This AI-powered model is an advanced language tool revolutionizing communication, content generation, and information retrieval.

The growing demand for AI technology has created an unprecedented opportunity for individuals and businesses to leverage it for financial gain. This demand presents a unique chance to turn AI into a profitable side gig or full-time venture.

This article explores practical ways to make money using AI for entrepreneurs and businesses looking to improve their operations.

Jacob Wackerhausen/istockphoto

Generative AI tools can produce website content, social media images, or business outlines for increasing profitability. The tools available can be leveraged in different sectors, making them accessible to solopreneurs, small startups, medium-sized companies, and large enterprises in all industries.

For example, Jasper is an AI writing tool that assists you in creating content, including blog articles, social media posts, ad copy, and product descriptions. By inputting a short prompt, Jasper can create an article outline in 30 seconds—saving you time and effort. Writing tools can be a quick and easy way to optimize your content creation, scale your online presence, and create in-depth marketing campaigns to sell more of your products or services.

DALL-E is AI software that can generate unique images based on text descriptions. If you need inspiration for eye-catching graphics for your WordPress website, social accounts, or marketing materials, you can simply provide a textual description of what you want, and DALL-E will generate high-quality images that match your vision.

AI-powered images can shorten the design process and increase the speed to market. This can both save money and increase audience engagement, leading to more sales.

Additionally, AI tools like chatbots can enhance customer support for businesses of all sizes. These virtual assistants can respond instantly to common customer queries, freeing human resources to focus on more complex issues. Quick responses improve customer satisfaction, encourage future purchases, save time, and reduce operational costs.

In the e-commerce sector, AI-powered recommendation engines, like those used by Amazon and Netflix, can be adapted for small businesses. They can help recommend products or content to customers, increasing cross-selling and upselling opportunities.


Scaling a business takes time, effort, and investment in AI tools that can identify external opportunities, optimize operational processes, and enhance customer experiences. AI can revolutionize how businesses operate, including automating routine tasks and providing valuable insights for strategic decision-making.

In this section, we’ll explore how businesses can leverage AI to increase sales and boost their bottom line.


To drive traffic to your social platforms or website, a deep insight into your target audience can help tailor your content and advertisements for your services to your potential customers. AI’s data analysis capabilities can reveal both who your target audience is and also their preferences, behaviors, and even the channels they prefer to engage with.

Email marketing tools like Optimove can analyze the behavior of subscribers, the best times to send email, and track customer engagement, helping you to personalize future email for greater conversions and upselling opportunities.

AI tools like AdCreative can also automate the creation and placement of online ads. They can analyze user data in real time to make split-second decisions on ad placement, ensuring that ads are shown to the most relevant audiences to encourage sales.


Outstanding customer service is at the core of every successful business. Responding promptly and accurately to customer inquiries, reviews, and feedback can enhance your brand image and incentivize customers to return.

HubSpot CRM is a prime example of an all-in-one platform that offers sales, marketing, and chatbot services. AI chatbots can handle a variety of customer inquiries, using templates to provide immediate responses 24/7. This service leads to increased customer satisfaction, lower operational costs, improved sales and conversions, and makes it easier to scale your business without increasing staff.

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customer-centric approach to creating digital or physical products can increase sales and profitability. AI can help drive product development by providing a critical analysis of current market trends, collating consumer feedback, and analyzing competitor products so you can optimize your product offerings.

For example, if you create a retail shopping application, you can use AI tools like Salesforce Einstein to optimize your app. With the help of AI, you can generate personalized product recommendations based on a user’s buying history and browsing behavior analysis. These insights can lead to higher sales, improved user experiences, and increased customer loyalty.


Optimizing business operations can cut costs and save time, especially with the supply chain process. Logistics costs are rising with changes in consumer preferences and buying patterns, and employing AI helps reduce costs and maintain profitability in a dynamic market environment.

Through predictive analytics, AI can forecast demand more accurately, reducing the risk of overstocking or understocking. It optimizes inventory management by identifying surplus or shortage, thus minimizing carrying costs. Enhanced operational efficiencies lead to timely order fulfillment, ensuring satisfied customers and repeat business.


E-commerce platforms offer a convenient way to purchase products and services online. AI can provide personalized recommendations based on user behavior and preferences, and can use visual recognition search to simplify product discovery.

These AI applications increase sales as customers find what they’re looking for more quickly, enhance customer retention through personalized engagement, and improve overall revenue growth due to the ability to offer competitive prices that attract and retain customers.


Businesses can provide AI-based analytics services to other companies as a useful tool to assess performance and make informed decisions. AI can process how customers interact with products, uncover emerging trends, identify bottlenecks in operations, and segment customers based on demographics and behaviors.

These services can be monetized by offering a data analysis subscription service, charging clients per data report, or offering training sessions on using AI to generate meaningful business insights.


Individuals looking for a side hustle for extra cash or a full-time income stream can reap the benefits of AI for income generation, enjoying flexibility, scalability, and even passive earnings. Here are 9 ways to earn money with AI as an individual.

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Providing AI-powered freelancing services like graphic design, data analysis, video editing, or copywriting can be a great income source.

Freelancing using AI tools can improve productivity, speed, and quality, allowing freelancers to handle more projects. Automated design tools enable freelancers to provide unique images and social media posts with a quick turnaround time.

Natural language generation (NLG) tools can help freelance writers by quickly automating content creation processes, producing drafts of articles, reports, and marketing materials. For data analysis, AI algorithms streamline data processing and insights, saving time and increasing accuracy.

These AI-powered advantages allow freelancers to offer competitive services on platforms attracting a global clientele looking for both efficiency and high-quality content.

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There are numerous possibilities for creating AI-powered applications or tools across various industries that you can monetize. First, you’ll need to identify your interests and skills, then conduct market research by analyzing competitors and existing solutions.

Identify gaps in the market and define your target audience, then come up with a plan to solve the identified problem. For example, you might want to create an app to streamline a company’s outreach efforts through automation.

To build your app, you’ll need to be skilled in programming languages, statistics, and using AI frameworks. Consider speaking to users to target pain points and optimize your app’s usability. You can sell your tool on platforms like the App StoreGoogle Play, or your website. Regularly update your application, track its performance through data analytics, and make improvements based on sales data to enhance the app’s profitability.


AI tools can help streamline content creation, boost your online presence, and drive product or service sales. For example, you can use ChatGPT to assist in generating high-quality blog posts for your website that increase traffic, leading to more income from ad clicks and affiliate commissions.

AI-based SEO tools can aid in optimizing content for search engines, increasing your online visibility. AI can also empower personal branding by designing tailored ads. AI-driven marketing tools can segment audiences, generate compelling ad copy, and optimize placements, maximizing reach and conversions.


If you’re an expert in AI, consider offering tutoring services or creating online courses to bring in a stream of income. You could provide learning support on user-friendly platforms to teach other individuals machine learning concepts, strategic ways to use NLP tools, or how to use AI development platforms like TensorFlow.

Writing and monetizing ebooks on platforms like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing is another avenue to share in-depth AI insights. Alternatively, you can create digital courses or tutorials and upload them to platforms like Udemy or Coursera to explain concepts, such as “AI for Beginners,” which can attract a broad audience.


AI microservices refer to small components of software that perform a single function, working with other software pieces to create a larger, complex software system. Examples of microservices include:

  • Image recognition. This microservice can classify images into predefined categories or detect specific objects within images. It’s valuable for applications like content moderation or visual search.
  • Recommendation engines. Based on user behavior, this microservice provides personalized product or content recommendations. It’s commonly used in e-commerce and media platforms.
  • Language translation. This microservice translates text from one language to another, making it useful for global communication and content localization.

To create and monetize AI microservices, identify a niche problem or function, develop the microservice using machine learning knowledge and programming skills, and create an API for integration with other platforms. You can publish your creation on AWS Marketplace for others to incorporate into their own applications. Offer clear pricing, comprehensive documentation, and user support to attract and retain a satisfied user base.


With tools like AI art generators, music composition software, or natural language processing, professionals can more quickly create stunning visuals, original compositions, and compelling written content. Simply provide the  appropriate AI tool with text descriptions of images, an audio sample, or a storyline premise to generate a draft of an image, music, or book.

The AI can create drafts in seconds, enabling content creators to iterate the generation process until they get an output that will help them realize their ultimate vision. This can help creatives overcome issues like writers block, and also improve their ideation and development processes.

Platforms like Shopify or personal websites provide spaces to market and sell AI-generated creations. Additionally, communities such as AI art galleries or digital content platforms like Etsy offer avenues to showcase and monetize AI-generated works.


You can leverage your expertise in AI to help businesses solve challenges or take advantage of opportunities. You may help clients identify areas they can automate to reduce costs, implement AI tools to increase operational efficiency, or integrate AI solutions into their existing systems.

To start a consulting service, build a strong portfolio showcasing past projects, research, and successful AI implementations. You can complete an in-depth portfolio to show your skills. In addition, networking is key—attend AI conferences, join online forums, and engage with AI communities. Building a professional network can lead to referrals and collaborations. Set competitive rates and create a clear value proposition for your clients for a successful career in consulting.

Voronchuk Daria/istockphoto

With AI, individuals can fine-tune their affiliate marketing, making it more precise and efficient, ultimately boosting earnings and streamlining the entire process. AI tools like recommendation engines can pinpoint the best products for a target audience, increasing conversion rates.

Machine learning aids in strategy optimization by automating ad placements, content recommendations, and email timing for optimal engagement. In addition, AI-driven analytics dig deep into performance data, providing insights for smarter decision-making.


Individuals can establish websites or social media accounts for AI-driven product recommendations and reviews using AI algorithms to analyze various products. A user could input their needs, preferences, and the features that interest them in a product. The AI could research market trends and reviews to offer personalized recommendations for the user, helping them find products they’ll be happy with.

AI can also optimize referral links to ensure users are directed to relevant products. This process improves user experience and can increases revenue through affiliate marketing partnerships, as users are more likely to make informed purchases.


Earnings in the field of AI vary significantly, depending on a variety of factors. Expertise level, AI niche, location, and market demand all play a role. Passive income opportunities, like digital products or AI-driven apps, can yield substantial returns over time. Active roles, such as AI consulting, offer high income but require constant involvement.

With the right skills, information scientists can earn upwards of $164,000 annually. Freelancing is another option, with machine learning experts charging up to $50 per hour and the flexibility to command higher rates based on their skills and experience.

As technology becomes more accessible, an increasing number of individuals and businesses will enter the market. To thrive in this competitive industry, AI enthusiasts must always update their skills through online courses, adapt to emerging trends, and focus on specialization within AI niches. While competition is challenging, those who remain dedicated and innovative can still find significant financial rewards in the AI industry.

This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by



Featured Image Credit: Supatman / iStock.