The future of work 1/2 (maybe)

Published on Jan 15, 2019

AI and robots are all the rage. Singularity is upon us. We keep sending our youth to school and college, and training them for jobs that may not even be around anymore by the time they graduate.

It's not all grim though. Being freed from the ancient curse, "you will earn your bread by the sweat of your brow", shouldn't be necessarily perceived as a disaster.

But in the current state of our society, as social status is firmly associated with people's professional occupation, and with our material life depending on it, it's not that simple. We're still eager to foresee what sort of job will be spared by the rising wave of intelligent machines and virtual worlds. Here's my take, for what it's worth.

In 2023, I think that cab riders will still operate, at least in messy cities like Bamako or Calcutta. I know, self-driving vehicles will be common by then. But not everywhere, not for everyone. Enjoy the ride while you can!

In 2032, doctors will be so 'augmented' by machines that even they will see the writing on the wall. But my guess is that real people will still be preferred for interacting with patients and calming their anxieties. For a while. Let's call them medical concierges, and they won't need to be trained for 10 years.

In 2038, we should be done with engineers and scientists, as we know them. I picture them feeding AIs with requirements, rather than doing anything by themselves. Ah, good lesson, they did it with everybody else, didn't they!

In 2048, the world will be free from the irritating presence of artists and writers. Special programs will routinely produce their 200 words a day without human interference.

In 2059, after 50 years of a languid blockchain revolution, decentralized governance models will work at last, making politicians and civil administration redundant. The final breakthrough will be getting rid of the citizens themselves, ensuring flawless execution of brave new policies.

In 2068, riots will spread throughout the virtual spaces where most of the humankind has found shelter, mimicking the fulfilling activities of the past in the most harmless and futile way. The few remaining philosophers, absorbed in the contemplation of the shivering reflections crossing the noosphere, will be killed all at once by the most vivid realization of their uselessness.

So most of us have still plenty of time to stay busy with their current jobs, or at least in their vicinity. But but but, what will be the new jobs, if I may ask? Are we sentenced to contemplate a shrinking landscape of opportunity, as the foreground of a barren horizon?

Tomorrow, I'll adventure into the unknown in a more positive manner, and I'll pinpoint the careers that your progeny shouldn't miss.

Stay tuned.