Back in January 2010 Fast Future wrote a report for the UK government on The Shape of Jobs to Come. The study highlighted new jobs of the future that might emerge in the global economy by 2030 as a result of exponential developments and breakthroughs in science and technology. Many of those are now real jobs and the rest are starting to materialize. As an update on those ideas, the authors’ recent books The Future of Business, Beyond Genuine Stupidity—Ensuring AI Serves Humanity, and The Future Reinvented—Reimagining Life, Society, and Business discuss a whole range of new industries and professions that might emerge as a result of these exponential advances. Presented below are a selection of 20 new jobs that could rise to the fore in the coming decade.
The exponential pace of advancement in science and technology is going to enable dramatic changes in society. Advances in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, autonomous vehicles, blockchain, human enhancement, and hyperconnectivity will help transform industries, enable the birth of new sectors, and lead to a whole new set of professions and jobs. These jobs of the future could draw on multiple underlying disciplines. Here are some examples:
- Life Manager for the Techno- Bewildered
Those who struggle with technology and get left behind in the new world order might find themselves placed under the mentorship of new age social workers. These Life Managers would supervise our every decision, guide us on how to navigate the day to day, and help ensure we use our finances or guaranteed basic incomes in a sustainable manner.
- Sexual Compatibility Consultant
The risk of choosing an inappropriate partner and then having the “wrong” child could lead to the rise of compatibility specialists. People with these jobs of the future would use AI algorithms to assess everything from IQ and EQ to genetic makeup and family medical history to try to ensure humans find the right mating partner.
- Longevity Relationship Counsellors
With humans expected to live 120 years plus and technology continuing to blur the line between robot and human, new types of marriage and relationship counsellors may emerge. These lifelong counsellors will help coach and guide individuals and their many partners across all stages and types of relationships, from traditional monogamy to polygamy and even human-robot or human-VR interminglings.
- End of Life Planner / Death Strategist
As lifespans get extended for those who can afford it, deciding when to die becomes a difficult decision. Our choices will need to factor in emotional, healthcare, familial, economic, and tax planning criteria when making the decisions. This will give rise to jobs of the future in death management—part GP, part financial advisor, part family therapist, and part grief counselor.
- Urban Foraging Educators
In the coming decade and beyond, food scarcity may force more of the world’s population to forage for healthy food. In cities, where most of the population will be concentrated, urban foraging education may become a matter of survival. There may be a future demand for experts to train the public in identifying poisonous plants, edible weeds, and wild fruits or vegetables so the population can survive future food shortages. Schools, governments, and private educational providers may seek to hire experts in urban foraging. Future foraging professionals could become as beloved (and marketable) as the celebrity chefs of today.
- Memory Adaptation Specialists
A memory specialist may help us modify our memories and reduce mental health issues. People would be able to erase traumatic memories and replace them with positive ones. The process might be conducted by a specialist with training in psychotherapy and neuroscience. Modifying our memories could have a major impact on our personality. The memory specialist would help you choose the traumatic events you need to erase. The replacement procedure would be done after a series of introspective consultations. A wide catalogue of pleasant memories would be available for your selection. People would choose what they want to remember.
- Human Enhancement Technician
As a society, we are starting to augment the human body with chemical, genetic, electronic, and physical enhancements. Body shops will appear where appropriately trained technicians will be able to perform these upgrades—administering nootropic drugs, genetic modifications, 3D printed body improvements, and electronic brain stimulation.
- Cryogenics Concierge
As more people opt for cryogenic preservation at—or close to—the end of their life, they will need specialist advice. The cryo concierge will provide guidance on different types of cryo procedures, costs, financial planning, the family’s rights and responsibilities, what happens when you are regenerated, insurance, and how to manage death.
New Societal Roles
- Independent Fact Checker
This role already exists to some extent but becomes ever more essential as concerns grow over the proliferation of fake news, companies exaggerate their marketing claims, and politicians argue about the veracity of each other’s statements. These jobs of the future will use a swathe of AI systems to check the truth and origin of every claim and fact. Clients will pay them for these services and for a regularly updated assessment of how truthful and accurate their own statements are. Public honesty tables provided by the fact checkers will influence the reputations and fortunes of businesses, politicians, and political parties.
- Crypto Detective
The spread of crypto currencies and initial coin offerings has led to high levels of fraud and concerns over the scale of crypto based shadow economy transactions. Specialist detectives backed up by AI will be required to unravel crime in the cryptosphere.
- Robot Whisperers
Artificially intelligent robots may comprise a significant part of the future workforce in retail, foodservice, and hospitality. Companies deploying such robots may require a staff of professional human Robot Whisperers to stand guard whenever the bots interact with the public. These jobs of the future would involve behind-the-scenes monitoring of robotic chefs and customer service robots to make sure they don’t run over a person’s foot or knock over a gas grill or cause other such hazards. The Whisperer would also monitor for undesirable behavioral changes as the robots learn from and adapt to their environment. Although robotic employees could be highly efficient and autonomous, it is possible that unexpected stimuli in the environment could result in accidents or injuries. Robot Whisperers would be a profession geared toward instilling public trusting robot workers.
- Inter-AI Conflict Resolution Specialist
AIs will increasingly need to collaborate. Our personal intelligent assistant may need to interact with the AIs of our bank, our employers, and all the vendors who serve us. Not all AIs will be born equal or have common goals, so disputes could arise. Human arbitrators may need to intervene to get the best outcome for humanity in these disputes.
- Robo-cop Coordinator
With the increasing capability of AI and robotics, policing could be undertaken by automated robotic systems. These might range from humanoid robots capable of interacting directly with the public, through to autonomous road vehicles and drones for surveillance. Human oversight would enable resources to be deployed based on the recommendations made by automated systems given the situation observed. The coordinators would be able to supervise a significant number of policing assets, all of which would be capable of operating 24/7.
- Off-world Governors
Dreams of inhabiting other planets and subsea colonies could be realized in the next 10 to 20 years. These new nations will require their own governance systems, behavioral norms, decision making models, laws, and judicial systems. These could vary dramatically from those witnessed on Earth. Hence, they will likely require a very different breed of visionary leaders to envision, run, and continuously evolve these new communities.
New Industries—New Professions
- Autonomous Vehicle Ethicist
We will need to establish the guiding principles for decisions made by autonomous vehicles. For example, who or what should the car hit if an accident is inevitable. Depending on where you are in the world the decision will be governed by different ethical and religious considerations, societal norms, and even economic factors.
- Synthetic Sommelier
The rise in the use of synthetic food products could drive the emergence of experts on all aspects of edible synthetics, lab grown meat, and 3D printed foodstuffs. Those holding these jobs of the future would be excellent at developing the perfect synth meal for any occasion. They can tell you all the differences in smell, taste, and texture between the synth food and its authentic counterpart.
- Space Junk Removal Supervisor
Near Earth orbit is increasingly congested by the remnants of old space missions, obsolete satellites, and the results of accidental collisions and losses. At the same time, the space sector is expected to explode—encompassing everything from asteroid mining and space tourism to the establishment of off-world colonies. In response, dependent upon the type of junk being targeted, different fleets of specialized spacecraft would be controlled, deployed, and coordinated by Space Junk Removal Supervisors based at contractors’ ground stations. The experience in low Earth orbit will drive new policies, agreements, and procedures to prevent a similar issue developing around the Moon and Mars.
The authors are futurists with Fast Future—a professional foresight firm specializing in delivering keynote speeches, executive education, research, and consulting on the emerging future and the impacts of change for global clients. Fast Future publishes books from leading future thinkers around the world, exploring how developments such as AI, robotics, exponential technologies, and disruptive thinking could impact individuals, societies, businesses, and governments and create the trillion-dollar sectors of the future. Fast Future has a particular focus on ensuring these advances are harnessed to unleash individual potential and enable a very human future. Rohit Talwar, CEO; Steve Wells, COO; Alexandra Whittington, Publishing Director; April Koury, writer; Helena Calle, researcher.