Working generative AI concept.
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It is not hyperbole to say that generative AI is ubiquitous, so it comes as no surprise that companies are planning to hire more people as a result of the technology. Due to generative AI, 49% of hiring managers will hire more independent talent, while 49% will hire more full-time employees. These are all according to new research from Upwork in a survey of 1,400 U.S. business leaders.

AI was the fastest growing category on the work platform in the first half of 2023, with generative AI job posts up more than 1,000% in Q2 2023 compared to the end of last year. Related searches increased more than 1,500% in the same time period, the company said in a press release.

“This sentiment around hiring plus the surge of activity from companies served as strong early indications that businesses are paying significant attention to the opportunities generative AI can provide,” the Upwork release said.

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Diverse use cases for generative AI

When it comes to generative AI, ChatGPT was the first tool that sparked public attention, according to Dr. Kelly Monahan, managing director of the Upwork Research Institute. Upwork’s platform data shows that many of the searches at the beginning of the year were from people coming and looking for freelancers with ChatGPT skills, but that is changing, Monahan told TechRepublic.

Now, as people have become more knowledgeable about the capabilities of generative AI, “they are beginning to develop a deeper understanding of the actual applicational uses of the technology,” she said. “This maturity cycle is reflected in the fastest-growing generative AI-related searches.”

SEE: Upwork Launches New Generative AI Tools and Services Hub (TechRepublic)

Instead of looking for just a single tool, like ChatGPT, Monahan added, “They are searching for the diverse use cases of generative AI technologies like AI content creation, services like Gradio (which is used for building machine learning web apps) and prompt engineering.”

Top 10 generative AI-related searches by companies

These are the top 10 generative AI-related searches by companies from Jan. 1 to June 30, 2023, on Upwork.

  1. ChatGPT.
  2. BERT.
  3. Stable Diffusion.
  4. TensorFlow.
  5. AI chatbot.
  6. Generative AI.
  7. Image processing.
  8. PyTorch.
  9. Natural language processing.
  10. Bard.

SEE: ChatGPT vs Google Bard (2023): An In-Depth Comparison (TechRepublic)

Fastest-growing generative AI-related searches

These are the fastest-growing generative AI-related searches on Upwork in the same timeframe (Q2 2023 vs. Q1 2023).

  1. AI content creation.
  2. Gradio.
  3. Azure OpenAI.
  4. Convolutional neural network.
  5. Large language models.
  6. Generative AI.
  7. AI chatbot.
  8. Midjourney.
  9. Prompt engineering.
  10. PyTorch.

SEE: Hiring kit: Prompt engineer (TechRepublic Premium)

Top 10 gen AI-related projects clients hired freelancers for

These are the top 10 generative AI-related projects clients hired freelancers for in the first half of 2023.

  1. ChatGPT.
  2. Natural language processing.
  3. TensorFlow.
  4. Image processing.
  5. PyTorch.
  6. AI content creation.
  7. Midjourney.
  8. AI chatbot.
  9. Model tuning.
  10. Stable Diffusion.

Among freelance professionals, Upwork said it has seen “a growing supply of independent talent with generative AI skills” on its platform in the first half of 2023. Independent professionals on Upwork have completed more than 20,000 projects involving AI work in the last year alone.

However, the company noted, it did not see interest in specific skills like prompt engineering — which is the practice of crafting prompts to elicit responses from the language model — until the second quarter of 2023.

These are the generative AI-related skills listed on Upwork talent profiles with the largest quarter-over-quarter growth (Q2 2023 vs. Q1 2023).

  1. Large language model.
  2. Generative AI.
  3. You Only Look Once.
  4. Object detection.
  5. Stable Diffusion.
  6. Prompt engineering.
  7. ChatGPT.
  8. Azure OpenAI.
  9. AI chatbot.
  10. AI text-to-speech.

As Upwork has seen in the past, independent talent continues to be on the cutting edge of emerging technologies, the company said. Freelancers are “quickly recognizing, learning and mastering” skills so they can provide businesses with the specialized knowledge and deep understanding of artificial intelligence principles, techniques, algorithms and methodologies required to maximize generative AI’s full potential.

SEE: Forrester’s Top 10 Emerging Technologies in 2023 and Beyond (TechRepublic)

How to respond to the generative AI frenzy

“Companies and professionals should adopt a generative AI plus mentality in their work,” Monahan said. “What I mean by this is that everyone, no matter their profession, should consider their work and how AI can be a part of that workflow.”

The process starts with having a basic fluency in the generative AI skills that impact their profession, she said.

For writers, Monahan suggested that they learn how to effectively use AI content creation tools; whereas, for creative professionals, it means understanding how to leverage tools such as Adobe’s Firefly for quick fixes or edits.

“Companies that want to encourage this should adopt a culture of learning around AI,” she added. “Whether that means providing training or access to generative AI tools or encouraging team members to take classes or certifications. Each company will figure out what works best for their own organization, but encouraging people to learn and understand generative AI is an important place to start.”

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