Jobs of the Future: The Occupations of a Post-Automation World
Automation is bringing immense disruption to the job market, and for many of us that will mean the notion of a career will cease to exist. But that doesn’t mean occupations will vanish completely. Here we present some of the positions that might exist a century from now
Sole Executive Officer
Effectively a CEO with no human employees under them, a sole executive officer would command a major company made up entirely of artificially intelligent software, making decisions about company direction and focus, aided – of course – by AI. For many SEOs, the required work would be fairly low, potentially making this a life of leisure, but there would be some that would likely immerse themselves in the position, either out of enthusiasm for the company or boredom about everything else. Regardless of their workload, the average SEO would be very wealthy, as they would likely own all the AI at their command, and so – along with any shareholders – be the only recipient of company profits. SEO would largely be a hereditary position, passed to the offspring of the company’s original founder, although a lucky few with ser ious talent may be able to build their own companies up to this level of might.
With much of the world now digital, everyday objects would become increasingly scarce, as fewer devices performed more functions. As a result, a fascination with the single-use items of yesteryear would likely grow, particularly among those with money to spend. To meet this demand, enterprising members of the unemployed masses would likely take to areas devastated by natural disasters or poverty to dig out objects of desire from times past and sell them on to those of means. iPods, tin openers and even print magazines could become the antiques of the future, with those found in relatively unsullied condition fetching high prices at virtual auctions. However, successful antiques hunters would need to be sharp and canny, facing off significant competition from rivals also looking to lift themselves out of poverty with that dream haul.
While for most members of the human race customer service will be handled entirely by bots, for those with money to spend, impeccably trained and presented humans would likely be preferable. As a result, transportation methods such as hyperloop will likely offer first class areas where the rich can be waited on by real human beings, albeit at a shocking premium. These types of roles would be reasonably well paid – particularly when compared to the wildly insecure hand-to-mouth existence many may face – and so would form much of the future middle class. However, competition would likely be fierce and the job would be tough, with mistakes being cause for instant dismissal.
Cis-Lunar Tour Guide
A century from now, cis-lunar space – the region between the Earth and Moon – will likely be a flourishing business region, with everything from manufacturing to tourism operating. For those that can afford it, this will be the cruise holiday of the future, and while robots will likely play a major role in these operations, humans will in all probability still be required. Our bet is in leisure roles such as a tour guide, but research and entertainment jobs may also require above-average numbers of humans.
While autonomous smart factories will likely make most of the items in the future world, those that can afford it will likely see handmade objects as unique and valuable. As a result, individuals with traditional crafting skills will be able to take advantage of their scarcity by selling goods at a significant premium. However, these skills will likely still be challenging to learn, making this type of role a rarity. For those who are true artisans, however, it will be immensely lucrative, affording them a far higher standard of living than many of their peers.
With more humans going into space than ever before, the spacecraft pilot of the future will likely be akin to the pilot of today. And just as pilots are still required despite autonomous assistance, the human-carrying spacecraft pilots of the future will also still be needed, despite being helped by AI, in order to allay fears and respond to unexpected issues. Those with money may even train as spacecraft pilots themselves, allowing them to hop between Earth and low-Earth orbit residences at will.