A new report has found that virtual habitat designers, ethical technology advocates and freelance biohackers will be three of the jobs of the future.
When the Berlin Wall came down 27 years ago, on 9 November 1989, there was no such thing as a web developer.
When Michelle Smith won her third gold medal 20 years ago at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games, big data analysts were absent from the workforce.
Only a decade ago, in 2006, as Ireland played its final competitive rugby match at the old Lansdowne Road, social media managers were yet to be born.
Jobs are ever-changing, never more so than in the fast-paced digital revolution of recent decades. So Microsoft’s paper on 10 future jobs makes for interesting reading.
Claiming that two-thirds of graduates in 2025 will be doing jobs that don’t even exist yet, the Tomorrow’s Jobs report – which The Future Laboratory and Microsoft collaborated on – predicts humanity will be curing disease and building virtual reality worlds from “the comfort of our own sofas”.
Its 10 future jobs (the latter half of which are unlikely to be a reality in 2025), including some helpful descriptions, are as follows:
1. Virtual reality habitat designer
“By 2025, virtual habitat design will offer some of the most exciting and creative career prospects in a global industry that will be producing millions of new jobs.
“VR habitat designers will need to possess the storytelling skills of an online game designer and editor together with the spatial design expertise of an architect or town planner to be able to imagine and create entire virtual worlds.”
2. Ethical technology advocate
“Ethical technology advocates will be mankind’s go-betweens, with a wave of robots and artificial intelligence applications that will be helping to run our complex and connected world by 2025.
“One of their key jobs will be to negotiate our delicate relationship with the robots by setting the moral and ethical rules under which the machines – and their makers – operate and exist.”
3. Digital cultural commentator
“In the 2020s, digital cultural commentator will be the secret weapon that both brands and centres of high culture will use to cut through the cacophony of online white noise to talk effectively to tomorrow’s audience.
“Masters of the next generation of visual social media, they will be able to bridge the gap between the arts and a digitally savvy public by using simple, impactful images to communicate complex and challenging ideas.”
4. Freelance biohacker
“Working from home, or from the growing number of freelance work hubs, freelance biohackers will work on open-source software platforms with hundreds, even thousands, of others in hive-like teams.
“University research departments and major drug and bioscience companies will use them to piece together complex DNA-based answers to some of the big questions of the next decade, from treatments for cancers in ageing populations to vaccines for new epidemics fuelled by our globalised culture and accelerating climate change.”
5. Internet-of-things data creative
“It will be their job to sift through the waves of data being generated each day by devices in our clothes, our homes, our cars and our offices and find meaningful and useful ways to tell us what all that information is saying.
“They will need to have three key talents: a finely-honed ability to recognise patterns, a skill at asking sharp and difficult questions, and a natural flair for storytelling.”
6. Space tour guide
“Space tour guides will use their exhaustive knowledge of the location of the thousands of satellites and pieces of junk from previous space missions to construct visits to the most interesting places in orbit.
“They will have a secondary role in finding and plotting the location of forgotten abandoned spacecraft and defunct equipment to create a log of the orbiting memorabilia of mankind’s first half century outside of Earth’s atmosphere.”
7. Personal content creator
“By the late 2020s, software-brain interfaces, pioneered by teams of neuroscientists, will have started to enter the mainstream, allowing mass audiences to read and capture thoughts, memories and dreams.
“Personal content creators will help people to use these systems to increase the storage capacity of their overstretched minds, providing services that allow them to dip in and out of treasured memories and experiences at will.”
8. Rewilding strategist
“Rewilding strategists will stitch together viable ecosystems in stressed landscapes, using patchworks of flora and fauna from all over the world, rather than worrying about only using indigenous species.
“They will reintroduce plants and animals that have been extinct in a region for centuries (think wolves in Ireland) and manage assisted migrations in order to create resilient and vibrant landscapes in the face of advancing climate change.”
9. Sustainable power innovator
“Sustainable power innovator – workers with expertise in chemistry and material science alongside finely-honed entrepreneurial instincts – will scour the periodic table, combining elements and organic materials to invent new battery storage capabilities, for both on and off-grid use.
“They will also oversee the introduction of super-fast charging facilities to cope with the power demands of our ever-growing reliance on the internet of things in a hyper-urbanised world.”
10. Human body designer
“Over the next two decades, bio-engineering advances will extend the average healthy human lifespan to more than 100 years as the growth of replacement tissues and organs becomes every day and affordable.
“Human body designers will combine design skills with bio-engineering know-how to create a huge range of customised human limbs, either to perfectly match the existing skin tone, musculature and colour of the rest of a person’s body, to provide exotic new looks or enhanced functionality for particular jobs or sports.”
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Main virtual reality image via Shutterstock