With the rise of machines, what type of job could you be applying for in 10 years’ time?

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Almost every day, an academic, researcher or technology leader makes a statement that in a world of automation and artificial intelligence (AI), workers will increasingly be surplus to what businesses need. After all, AI is already driving cars, diagnosing patients, and is at the heart of the global financial system. Perhaps for the first time, employees undertaking the typical start of year career evaluation may be considering the implications of a digital revolution. When machines do everything, what work will be left for humans?

As work changes over the next decade due to automation and AI, HR departments will find themselves filling a starkly different set of jobs. The influence of technology will mean that some of these are highly technical, although others will require far less in-depth, specialist knowledge. While some may insist that one day all jobs will be technology jobs, our new research, ‘21 jobs of the future, a guide to getting and staying employed over the next 10 years’, paints a different picture. It does however, outline a selection of roles that will move into the mainstream, both based on and augmented by digital.

Here are just some of the 21 jobs we expect to emerge in the next ten to 15 years: 

Augmented Reality Journey Builder: Much as composers, bricklayers and playwrights were in demand a century ago, AR journey builders are their 21st century successors. In this role, you will help design, write, create, calibrate, gamify, build and – most importantly – personalise the next generation of mind-blowing stories for clients’ trips in augmented reality.

Data Detective: Do you get a kick out of running down leads, ruling out suspects and solving whodunits? Then this role is right for you. A data detective will investigate the mysteries of a company’s big data, generated by a whole host of technologies including Internet of Things end points, sensors, biometric monitors and devices. 

Personal Memory Curator: Your job will be to remake and architect past experiences to reduce the stress or anxiety that simple memory loss creates in the elderly. You will consult with patients and stakeholders to create virtual reality experiences, built on realistic images, sounds and other sensations, to bring a particular time, place or event to life.   

Walker / Talker: If you enjoy interacting with and, most especially, listening to your fellow human beings, then this may be the job for you. With many jobs of the future undertaken by technologies, people are living longer, with the elderly sometimes left alone. As a Walker / Talker, you will be a companion to them in their homes and out and about. 

Fitness Commitment Counsellor: Robots and digital fitness trackers can help curb the obesity epidemic, but only so far. As a remote fitness commitment counsellor or dietary nurse, you will provide one-on-one daily, weekly and bi-weekly remote coaching sessions to help improve the wellness of people with wearable smart bands that monitor their physical activity.   

AI-assisted Health Technician: In-depth patient care and diagnosis is no longer solely the job of doctors with seven years of qualifications. Armed with AI and remotely accessible doctors, you will be on the road and in surgery, examining, diagnosing, administering and prescribing treatment to patients. 

Cyber City Analyst: This role will see you ensure the safety, security and functionality of cities by managing a healthy flow of bio, citizen and asset data, and carrying out necessary repairs of broken, faulty or hacked streams. If these systems fail, the city suffers, and you will be on the front line to keep the city running. 

Digital Tailor: If you are a talented, fashion-friendly tailor, seamstresses or designer, chances are you will work with future customers in the comfort of their own homes, using digital assessments to perfect the fit and finish of their clothing. 

Virtual Store Sherpa: Think of yourself as a “sommelier of hardware”. You will have a video-link in your own home and, based on your product knowledge, will be matched to what customers are looking for in-store; whether that is to support carpentry, gardening, landscaping or home design projects. 

Highway Controller: Drones now swarm the sky, but these devices do not have pre-set flight paths and, therefore, present a danger to traditional aircraft. You will work alongside colleagues in the city’s space control centre, monitoring automated road and air space management systems to ensure no errors occur that could endanger life or property. 

Despite the variety of disciplines, markets and technologies that will make up these jobs of the future, they will all defined by the 3Cs: coaching, caring, and connecting. As outlines above, many roles will involve helping other people improve certain areas of life, such as managing their finances or weight. A significant proportion of jobs will focus on joining up divergent worlds which are becoming increasingly intertwined, such as man and machine, physical and virtual, or commerce and ethics.

The 3Cs show us that, ultimately, there is no need to worry. No matter how technological our age becomes, people want the human touch and many of the jobs of the future are still the jobs of today. For example, teachers, doctors and police officers are not going anywhere soon but many of their roles will evolve due to the technology available. Jobs from previous generations may in time seem ridiculous to our children. We want technology to help us, as a tool, but we do not want technology for technology’s sake. Work and the skills required have always undergone change over the centuries and the jobs of the future will use technology as a means, not the end.

While technology will upgrade every aspect of society, that does not mean we are facing a cyber dystopia – rather, a recognisable world in which technology has improved things for humans, not robbed us of what we value most: our very humanity. 

Euan Davis, European Lead at Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work 

Image Credit: Alex KNight / Unsplash