I recently posted an article, ‘The Only Three Trends that Matter’, which argued that the future of work is about more than AI and automation; it is also about climate change and the battle for an equal, just, and democratic society. To help demonstrate this point, I created eight job ads from the future at the intersection of my three mega-trends.
The following are speculative pieces exploring the intersection of those three trends. They are not predictions or suggestions. These experiential futures are designed to provoke conversations.
Here they are (in no particular order)…
Job #1: Re-Creationists
As more species die off or reach the point of extinction, we may turn to a combination of genetic sequencing, 4D printing, and AI to recreate what we’ve lost. Not everyone will like the idea of this role, and some may want to apply what they’ve learned to humans.
Job # 2: Reality Rehabilitator
Will fantasy and the virtual world become more appealing as the environment declines and democracy erodes? In the future, we might want to escape into pristine worlds that give us a sense of agency and control. Who will and won’t be able to have access to these worlds may become a point of contention.
Job #3: Truth Triage
Are you sure you know what’s real? When fake news and DeepFakes become the norm, how will we separate fiction from reality? What will we believe if the world around us collapses? Perhaps knowledge seekers (like journalists) of the future will rely on truth triage teams. These teams will create and deploy filters to determine what is real and what is not. Whoever decides what is true, may also decide what constitutes reality.
Job #4: Social Intelligence Engineer
Creating and maintaining sustainable systems is no easy feat. In the future, we may need people to work with sophisticated algorithms to co-design a more socially and emotionally intelligent society. We may go as far as designing for mass positive behaviour, all to ensure that the world is a sustainable, equitable, and just place. Keeping the peace may be part of your job description.
Job #5: Actualized Life Programmer
But what about the individual, you ask? Wouldn’t it be nice if someone helped you self-actualize? Actualized Life Programmers might work with you, your smart home, wearables, and the smart city grid to help you become the best version of yourself through environmental and behavioural conditioning. We’ll all live happier, healthier, and more sustainable pre-determined lives. Privacy not included.
Job #6: The Moral Coder
Maybe we need to go one step further still. Humanity is flawed and destructive. Some may try to decipher, hack, and refine our genetic code so that we begin to reflect our better natures. AI will make it easier for us to understand ourselves, but who decides what stays and what goes? In whose image do we redesign humanity?
Job #7: Forest Feeder
Climate change results in mass extinction and loss of biodiversity. In an attempt to salvage nature, forest feeders make the ultimate sacrifice by serving as hosts to nano-bacteria that break down plastics and toxins in the environment. Their nutrient-rich bodies may allow them to transport semi-synthetic bacteria to far-off locations and perform bio-maintenance tasks along the way. Once they pass, the nano-bacteria continues to thrive in their bodies and help replenish a deteriorating Earth. In exchange, their loved ones are compensated and honoured for their loss.
Job #8: Extinction Tour Guide
Maybe our efforts are not enough. With mass extinction looming, some may want to see it all before it’s gone. Specialized tour guides will lead the last pilgrimage as we say goodbye to the planet as we know it. Perhaps some will capture the images to recreate them in virtual worlds. Such a pilgrimage may only be available to the privileged, even though the loss will be equally shared by all.