This ad for McDonald’s stuck with me because I realized my kids are speaking a language I don’t really speak. My younger son texts his friends and their hours-long conversations sometimes have no words. Only emojis.
A recent article in The Economist quotes Bill Gates as saying at least a dozen types of jobs will be taken over by robots and automation in the next two decades, and these jobs cover both high-paying and low-skilled workers. Some of the positions he mentioned were commercial pilots, legal work, technical writing, telemarketers, accountants, retail workers, and real estate sales agents.
Your kids won’t notice those jobs are gone. Just like your kids don’t notice your VCR is gone. Because the new jobs that will replace the lost jobs are as new to us as a picture-based language.
Here are some examples I found:
Robots will play a greater part in providing home care and services than they do today. It turns out that people can develop emotional feelings for robots, and different personality types have different robot preferences. This research sets the stage for the emergence of robot counselors to help choose the right bot for a family, by observing how the family interacts, their needs, and their lifestyle.
Big Data Doctor
Big data’s growing influence will inevitably move toward health care. First, doctor visits will be replaced by automated exams, and we will use doctors to analyze data. Then a new type of doctor will emerge who treats based on a patient’s biographic profile and personal data.
Alternate Currency Analyst
Bitcoin is riding the new wave of excitement over private currencies in an unsteady world financial arena. As adoption spreads, we will need crypto-currency bankers, regulators, and lawyers. Currency specialists will design new ways to compute value, such as synaptical currency to assign value to a brain as a new way to calculate labor cost.
Food Supply Consultant
Soon the public will see food scientists as inventors. For example a team of researchers developed color-changing smart tags to tell how fresh your food is. And food scientists are investigating how to use big data to clean up our food supply. Meanwhile, foodies are waiting in the wings to become molecular gastronomists (to help with digestion) and plant psychologists (to quell your guilt). If you’re looking for a job right now, maybe you can be a 3-D printing food consultant.
Memory Augmentation Therapist
Entertainment is all about the great memories it creates. Creating a better grade of memories can dramatically change who we are and pave the way for an entirely new class of humans. Futurists predict we’ll have a way to control our memories and we will be able to hire people to teach us.
Today esports players have brand managers, agents and sponsors. The business climate is ripe for creative investment. On the one end there is Betway featuring betting on esports and on the other end is MIT holding an academic conference on the business of esports. Conference topics like finding the digital fan will shift into startups aimed at a those problems. And esports entrepreneurs will find new leagues and satellite businesses to those leagues as the big sports monopolies splinter as fast as the old TV monopolies did.
Instead of counting and tracking dying species, we’ll switch to recreating them. The people who specialize in de-extinction will manage not only the chemical process, but also the selection of which will disappear and which will be revived. Of course there will be an ethical component to this job as well—if nothing else, to answer the ongoing debate of should we revive extinct species at all?
One of the hardest things to do as a homeschooler is to be open to kids choosing paths we would not choose for them. It’s hard to provide an education that does not have a predisposition toward the job we would want our kids to want.
I like seeing the future – of language, of jobs, of anything, really – because it reminds me how the life I might imagine for my kids would be outdated anyway.