As far as the business of living is concerned, I believe that the safer jobs of the future will primarily be “high touch” jobs.
What will be the safest jobs of the future?
Will my field, will my job, be relevant in the years to come?
This has been one of the toughest questions to answer and we are not very close to finding the ideal solution.
It is hard to predict an accurate forecast of the job scenario because the nature of jobs is changing at lightning speed. This could be because of a combination of reasons: a shrinking world thanks to better connectivity across the globe; ever-increasing automation; huge advances developments in artificial intelligence (AI). All of these factors ensure that any job heads to the most efficient producer who places the least number of constraints. There might be political barriers especially for international work, but technology works faster than politics!
As far as the business of living is concerned, I believe that the safer jobs of the future will primarily be “high touch” jobs. Humans would still want to interact with other human beings. Routine work, due to its automated nature, would shift to AI: like information gathering and information processing roles. However, the emotional components would remain the exclusive domain of humans. Individuals might be happy to share their deepest, darkest secrets with an AI, but they would still need friends to go out with and psychologists to spill out their hearts to when feeling lonely. Millions of years of evolution and the need to be social will not get upended by an artificial system completely.
The easiest way to test whether AI will take away a job is to see if the job involves human interaction with an emotional aspect to it. People, when sick, would love to be diagnosed by an AI system because, theoretically, it could offer much higher accuracy rates than a human specialist. On the other hand, they would also love to be tended to by family members and human nurses. A child would learn from an AI system for its access to unlimited amounts of information and ability to keep him engaged but would love to be cajoled by a human nanny when he falls down while trying something new. Similarly, a player would need a team manager to motivate him at half-time, while an AI system can help him identify the weaknesses in the opponent’s gameplay.
Therefore, focusing on Emotional Quotient (EQ) more than Intelligence Quotient (IQ) and actively developing empathy and communication skills should be the new-age jobseeker’s shortcuts to staying relevant.
Another ability (s)he should develop is the ability to learn. As the nature of jobs evolves, individuals would be caught up in a constant process of learning, unlearning, and relearning. This signifies a return to core principles like aesthetic, cultural, ethical, intellectual, physical, religious, social, spiritual and vocational development of an individual. Beyond that, specialization can be chosen at any time by the learner as long as they know how to learn. Embracing this concept of lifelong learning would help in staying relevant in changing times.
On another note, there is a definite transformation taking place in the energy sectors. This will eventually result in electric and autonomous vehicles becoming more common, which in turn would lead to reduced demand for owned vehicles. As per Tony Seba, the world has already seen peak automobile ownership. As a corollary, we are likely to see a lot of parking spaces needing to be remodeled. Seba estimates that this could lead to some cities releasing about 2 times their existing space. This could forecast a boom in city planning and architecture. As the focus of urban dwellers moves towards a slower life, simpler living, local produce, I would argue that this freeing up of space could lead to newer business models like nearby farms, enabled by technologies like vertical farming, aquaponics, all the while changing the meaning of urban living.
For the more adventurous, space is a frontier that is also being challenged. So if you are not a people’s person, maybe you should focus on other planets! While the previous era of space exploration was led by the Governments (think NASA, Soyuz, ISRO, etc.) the current leaders in space exploration are well-funded private companies like SpaceX, Blue Origin, Astroscale, Orbital Insights. This race to outer space is leading towards the creation of new business models that don’t exist yet. But by 2025, these will be better designed and will throw up newer jobs that will involve higher degrees of specialization in engineering and sciences. The humanities’ experts will also be involved in helping mankind adapt to these new environments with ethics justice taking center stage.
The job options for a whole new world are limitless. Suffice it to say that the more “human” you remain, the more likelihood you have for survival! I am excited about what the world has in store as it becomes a far more diverse place from jobs’ perspective.