In just a short amount of time, our information landscape has gone through a major overhaul. Just 10 years ago, I wouldn’t have a job writing articles that will never get printed on paper—and that’s just a minor advancement.
Coding has gone from a niche interest into a class that will be taught in school curriculum.
Becoming a techpreneur is now a viable, and even clichéd job title. And we have other roles that have come about with the recent innovations like social media specialist, digital marketer and notoriously, influencer.
So based on technology that’s already in the works, we look to the future to guess what it could look like for Generation Z Prime (or whatever they’re going to call the next “entitled generation”).
We’ve tried to limit it to technology that is already in existence and poised for breakout, so despite being inspired by Michelle Yeoh’s character in the newest Star Trek TV series, Starfleet Captain is not on this list (not unless Elon Musk’s space programme takes a huge new leap soon).
1. Personality Designer
Think about Jarvis in Iron Man, and you kind of have the right idea.
We already have functions like Siri, Alexa, Bixby, Cortana and Google Assistant helping us take care of things on our phones. We also have all of those fun optional voices we can download on Waze (with the old Tony Fernandes one being a personal favourite of mine).
If we look at the next logical step of these trends, people are going to want more variety of voices to talk to rather than just the machine-like companionship we have currently.
So one day, there might be Personality Designers whose role is to create personalities that users can download and apply to their programs. And these would realistically extend into bootlegs of existing characters or celebrities—who wouldn’t at least try out an assistant who talks and acts like your favourite Marvel character?
2. Augmented Reality Architect
These days, popular Augmented Reality apps have died down in the mainstream somewhat, but the technology’s development is still robust.
Augmented reality pretty much currently exists as an extension within our smartphones, but the people working on the technology eventually want to get rid of our phones as the buffer between AR and real life. Either through holographic projections or through eyewear like Google Glass, they want to make the augmented reality as seamless as possible.
And part of that process is to make sure that the AR elements interact seamlessly with real life.
So to either create a GPS software that augments reality to show you exactly where to turn, or others like Pokemon Go where you interact with characters in real life, someone will have to programme these elements.
There are other possibilities too, such as supplementing your current environment with Artificial Intelligence, like projecting a forest while you’re actually in your room. Someone will not only have to programme in experiences like the texture of wood or how the light reflects off grass and trees, but also how these elements interact with real life elements.
And that someone will be an Augmented Reality Architect.
3. Crypto-Fund Manager
While the hype for Bitcoin has gone down with its value, there is still massive interest in the technology that runs it—blockchain. Many forward-thinking regulators are enticed by the heightened accountability and trackability, especially when paired with KYC (Know Your Customer) rules.
There is the potential for cryptocurrency to slowly evolve and more sustainably grow again despite its volatility, and so there will always be those with big money looking to invest in it.
Enter crypto-fund managers, who would function like today’s Forex traders. They’ll consider any crypto-investments as funds to manage, and their job will, simplistically, help investors grow their portfolio value within the cryptocurrency sphere.
There will still be your average Joe traders of course, as there are still people trading in stock without using stockbrokers. They will just be playing in the same field as experts and big money.
4. AI Ethics Lawyer
Based on all of the robots that have gone viral lately (see Boston Dynamic’s door-opening robot below), we’re well underway to developing actual sentient artificial life. And as more of our daily life and businesses apply and integrate with artificial intelligence, ethical issues might just arise.
But let’s not even get to sentient life yet, and look at problems that may arise in the immediate future.
For example, there exists an AI that is essentially a scarily accurate gaydar—more accurate than humans. And we all know about how Google is developing an AI that could identify faces. Could this technology be used by a bad player to harm someone?
Or do you have any ways to protect yourself if someone wanted to harvest all of the data available on Google and Facebook into an AI software that will be programmed to predict your behaviour?
Or how about if an AI programme commits an error that ends up killing someone? AI is often more accurate than humans, but if a mistake is made, who would take the fall for it?
Eventually, there will be a need for definitive laws regulating the industry, and the lawyers to figure out how this applies into our daily life.
And speaking about self-driving cars, the next job directly relates t othat.
5. Accident Claims Analyst (Specialising in Automated Motor Accident)
If they can figure out ways to get them to work outside of controlled compounds (and once their inevitably exorbitant prices have come down to earth), fleets of automatic cars will be driving on the roads alongside us, and accidents are bound to happen.
So how do you determine fault when one guilty party isn’t even human? Do you blame the engineer behind the technology? Or the person who owns the vehicle?
Or in other potential cases, what if all parties involved were in automated vehicles?
Our current car laws took many years and many iterations across multiple countries to get to where we are today, but when these situations involve self-learning machines, it will come with its own set of challenges and new situations.
So to determine how insurance and the law would apply in that scenario someone who specialises in analysing and parsing through these faults might one day be crucial.
6. Game Addiction Counselor (VR Specialist)
Games are now acknowledged as an actual mental disorder by the WHO, and we haven’t even begun to tap into massively immersive VR technology. Imagine Skyrim on VR, for example.
So what happens when we reach a future where that’s the case?
Eventually, there will be extreme versions of gaming addiction where people are more interested in growing their virtual lives rather than their real ones—an extension of people who are obsessed with games like The Sims and Second Life.
There are going to have to be counselors who have to develop multi-step programs to bring these people back to earth and reintegrate them into real life. Game addiction psychologists and counselors already exist, but if immersive VR tech becomes mainstream, we might see this new specialisation growing in numbers.
7. Robot-Human Matching Agent
We always imagine a future where Artificial Intelligence will lead to our robot overlords, but what if all they want is to coexist with humans? In an ideal future where all of our ethical dilemmas with sentient artificial life are magically resolved, certain humans may actually want companionship with AI.
But unlike a smartphone, AI-sentient beings will potentially have their own thoughts, feelings and personalities to be considered. So we can imagine a process that is a mix between matchmaking and adoption.
Both parties could be given a personality test, either automated or in-person, and matched based on compatibility of personalities and life goals. Think of it like matchmaking, where the robot is matched to the right human.
8. Creators Of Massively Immersive Porn
Have you ever heard of the term teledildonics? It’s exactly what it sounds like—technology that enables two people who aren’t in the same room to have sex with each other.
With specialised equipment, whatever sensations that you apply to the equipment would transfer over to your partner. We won’t be going into the exact details but you can read more about it here.
Let’s take a look at porn and prostitution. Both are illegal in many countries, like ours. But the porn industry alone is also worth around 97 million US dollars, so you know that people stand to make a lot of money from tapping into teledildonics.
Prostitutes can have a teledildonic session with their johns instead of meeting them physically, reducing the risk of spreading STDs. There is also the possibility for people to take it one step further, and make these sessions downloadable.
A porn company could have a pornstar act out a scene, and then programme a session that can be downloaded and applied to these products. Coupled with VR, these can become a fully-immersive experience.
If this takes off, there could be a lot of jobs created within the porn industry—sensation programmers, a CTO to develop the software, a whole supply chain, etc.
9. Olfactory Engineer
Once upon a time, there was an unfortunate Hollywood flop by the name of Spy Kids 4D that aired on cinemas. The movie itself is not interesting, but how they executed the fourth dimension is. They basically gave out scratch cards with numbers, and at certain points in the movie, an indicator will pop up to tell you which number you scratch.
And there will have to be someone responsible, just like audio engineers, to recreate those everyday smells. Audio engineers today already work to include sounds we don’t think about—footsteps, traffic, rain, and even the shifts and movement of cloth.
So think like that, but smells. That’s what an Olfactory Engineer will have to do.
10. Virtual Surgeon
Medical Tourism can sometimes be a necessary evil for patients suffering from rare diseases, as the specialists equipped to conduct a very important surgery may live an airplane flight away. However, by flying overseas, many may forfeit current healthcare plans, or have to fork out a lot more money for accommodations and transportation.
According to the BBC, the “technology behind long-distance surgery is now mature enough to be used more widely”. In fact, there already exists a surgeon named Mehran Anvari who has done 20 telesurgeries as of 2014.
When the technology becomes more widespread and available in more hospitals across the globe, the demand for surgeries will rise as well. And since it will take a certain amount of skill to learn how to use these robots for operations, a specialist could opt to offer their services via robots and do this as their bread and butter—from oceans away.
Of course, this is all just conjecture, and any of these industries could move completely differently than we predicted. Still, it is always an interesting exercise to wonder what the future would look like.
Feature Image Credit: What will A.I. replace? – A 2017 Mother’s Day Film by Maxis