Neo jobs in the world of tomorrow
Jobs in the city of the future
Urbanization is a megatrend: By 2100, the UN expects eleven billion people living on Earth, 85 percent of them in cities. New jobs will emerge to create the requisite infrastructure.
Smart city architects
A lively and livable city is like an organism. It involves a lot more than individual buildings, but requires effective interaction between them, transportation systems, water grids and power grids. Everything has to be connected to the Internet of Things and to IT worlds. Since this involves the entire existing infrastructure, specialized architects will have to fuse old and new structures, real worlds and data worlds into a modern smart city.
Urban farming is not necessarily a contradiction in terms. Greening the roofs of buildings with edible plants has been around for a while. The use of artificial light and fertile soil on the stories of skyscrapers, in former underground garages or on the walls of patios for urban farming is evolving into a serious business model in the world’s growing megacities: a new sector that might offer job opportunities not only to well-trained experts but also to people with lower skills.
Traffic controllers 4.0 and drone crews
Preventing total gridlock in cities will be the job of traffic controllers and they will no longer primarily focus on above-ground roadways, train tracks and waterways with a few bridges and tunnels. Urban mobility will increasingly be shifted into subterranean and airborne transportation systems. Therefore, smart connectivity and control of transportation using new technologies will be a key skill for smart cities. Experts expect one billion passenger or cargo drones traveling in the airspace by the early 2030s. Many of them will fly autonomously, but many others be controlled by pilots. This is one example of a neo job, just like the requisite ground crews. Other new mobility concepts such as supersonic Hyperloop trains will create new jobs, too: in engineering as well as in operating them.
Cities beyond the Earth’s atmosphere are still science fiction at the moment – but how much longer? 50 years after the first lunar landing, space travel has picked up new momentum. Besides government agencies, more and more private-sector organizations have begun to set their sights on outer space. Space technology might soon become a technology pacemaker again – and a job engine. Especially since all-new business aspects are moving into focus: high-priced tourism in the Earth’s orbit or on the Moon, as well as raw material exploration on our planet’s natural satellite and in the asteroid belt will translate into job opportunities for space pioneers.
Life and work in the data world
Data are said to be the new gold. Even though machines capture, store and analyze them, humans will also profit from the new “gold rush” in the form of new jobs: for instance in the fields of data security, data utilization, and data marketing or sales.
Artificial intelligence creates a cornucopia of new activity fields to be occupied by humans: Obviously, they include programmers and experts that teach AI users. In addition, there will be specialists delving into program codes written by AI, whether for verification and control or for adaptation. Moreover, people will be linking AI with existing professions such as AI artists, AI film producers and AI musicians.
Personal data traders
Even at this juncture, all of us produce huge amounts of data: with every purchase, every use of transportation, and every click on a website. These data have tremendous value and at the moment, we, their producers, are still giving them away. In the future, personal data traders might be converting the virtualized information of individuals or groups into cash. And, like in any business environment, there’s potential for conflict. This is where data protection attorneys would come into play. The question of what data may be collected in the first place is explored by data ethicists and when data are freely traded, specialists can make a lot of money by tapping into new sources.
Digital means of payment use sophisticated algorithms for financial transactions. By now, several thousand cryptocurrencies exist worldwide and in many countries they’re no longer just niche assets. Facebook’s announcement of launching the Libra cryptocurrency will attract other providers. Investment consultants specializing in cryptocurrencies are going to profit from this trend.
What will remain in data networks after death? Who will erase personal files, posts and photos that are not meant for eternity? Handling the digital legacies of individuals, companies and institutions is a job for specialists. Virtual morticians take care of the things that are intended to remain and those to be deleted in digital networks because the right to be forgotten is becoming increasingly important in the age of social media.
Forensic data scientists and data detectives
What traces am I personally leaving behind in data networks? Who has access to my data? Where do companies have data leaks that need to be closed? Who manipulates cryptocurrencies? All these questions require specialists in data forensics who answer them with a detective’s investigative skills and the use of AI: a future-proof job because crime never sleeps in cyberspace either.
Workers in virtual worlds
Computer-generated worlds are becoming increasingly realistic. More and more new business ideas are emerging with unusual job profiles in tow – and many of them are also related to more traditional fields.
Virtual travel planners
Travel planning is another business segment for virtual worlds. Smart glasses available at a growing number of travel agencies make it possible for clients to explore hotels, hotel rooms, resorts or cruise ships before booking a vacation. Such virtual discoveries have to be developed and produced, which not only requires computing power but also human creativity. And why not opt for virtual travel in the first place? Virtual worlds ‘”feel” increasingly authentic and virtual travel planners could customize perfect trips for their clients from a continually growing offering.
Is this a sport or mere gaming? The seriousness of e-sports and e-games has been debated for some time – and actually been decided when looking at the burgeoning interest in them. E-gaming and e-sports pros have begun to make quite a bit of money from the worldwide video coverage of their competitions held in sports arenas. As in traditional professional sports, many job opportunities are emerging here: from coaches to physiotherapists to sports marketers and sponsorship agents. Plus, the virtual arenas have to be built – by VR architects.
Ultimately, virtual spaces are – spaces. And who are the people that specialize in building spaces? Architects and interior designers. Consequently, these professionals are in demand in virtual worlds as well, albeit with emphasis on different skill sets. After all, their architectural projects do not involve brick and mortar but ones and zeros. However, a knack for form, color, structures and functional features is as important in the virtual world as in the real one.
New jobs focused on people
Aside from new technologies, people and the environment will take center stage in the professional world of tomorrow. Recreational activities, education and health are three fields with huge potential for jobs.
People are living longer and longer, are more affluent and have more free time. However, life is also becoming increasingly complex due to the digital flood of information and diversity of offerings. So-called life coaches help us master our everyday life and free time: in the fields of mobility, health, nutrition, fitness, knowledge or even in the context of anti-aging and more.
How can people connect themselves to the Internet of Things? How can they derive the greatest benefit from the resulting opportunities? IoT experts in the fields of health, household, hardware and software, and training provide relevant assistance.
Educational portfolio optimizers
The technology-driven transformation of the working world provides people and companies with a growing number of new opportunities. The job of educational portfolio optimizers will be to make the most sensible selections from the worldwide offerings for individuals, groups or companies. Not every training opportunity is suitable for every individual, so making smart choices will become increasingly important.
Manipulation of the human genome as well as that of animals and plants will continue to be a controversial subject – but is far from having been fully exploited. New forms of jobs will not only emerge in scientific research, technology and medicine but also in the fields of ethics and legal advice.
New forms of work in future factories
Industry 4.0 is making headway. Machines become interconnected in the Internet of Things. This results in many new jobs, especially at the interfaces with robotics and artificial intelligence.
Human-machine teaming managers
In Industry 4.0, teaming managers assist in coordinating humans and machines. The objective is to avoid errors due to the differences in human and machine logic. For successful companies, it will be crucial to ensure that humans and smart machines learn to understand each other and form a team. Empathy trainers explaining the world of emotions to machines can also assist in this process.
Machines designing and building other machines are nothing new. In the future, smart machines are going to develop and produce other smart machines. However, if the use of a robot causes problems in the production process, humans will still be superior in performing repairs for a long time. Human power of persuasion will also continue to score when it comes to selling robots.
The Internet of Things will consist of billions of sensors delivering data – in manufacturing operations as well as in everyday life. The information compiled by data mining is evaluated and analyzed by artificial intelligence. This is something the machines can do without us, but the sensors must be developed, positioned and maintained, and also sold to customers. All of this is a rather human domain.
3D printing specialists
Plastics, metals and even biological substances can be shaped in nearly any conceivable way by means of decentralized 3D printing. This changes the development and manufacturing of products as well as the procurement of assembly components and spare parts. A growing number of 3D printing specialists is constantly developing new methods, materials and components. Checking 3D models, files or designs could be a service with high future potential. The artificial production of foodstuffs, and even of organs, is another field that is seeing massive development.
Algorithm insurers and lawyers
Computer programs increasingly control process flows in the working world and in everyday life. That’s great as long as everything works the way it should. But as soon as faults emerge and result in loss or damage, questions of liability and compensation emerge. Who will be held responsible? The programmer? The robot’s manufacturer? The company that uses the robot? In the future, specially trained insurance experts will have to answer such questions. Equally interesting is the legal aspect of such liability issues, which requires specialists as well.
Manufacturing and logistics processes in Industry 4.0 are supported by blockchain technologies. Specialized managers plan, implement and analyze them using AI. Blockchain technologies might also develop enormous job potential in the area of data security.