The U.K. government recently commissioned Fast Futures, a trend-spotting agency, to predict what careers will be the hottest in the coming decades. Their findings, according to BD Online:
Fast Future consulted a series of futurists and trend predictors as well as examining recent science and technology developments to create a list of 20 new jobs that could be created in the coming years. It predicted the advent of space tourism would create demand for architects to design hotels and other facilities, both in space and on other planets, by 2015.
And in an online survey, space architect beat virtual lawyer, body-part maker and vertical farmer to rank as the most aspirational future job, alongside space pilot and space tour guide.
(Above: a picture of the New Mexico Spaceport USA, by Foster+Partners, which is currently being constructed.) The report also highlights the technological changes that will shape the job market. According to The Guardian:
Traditional roles within medicine and farming are expected to rely much more heavily on the use of computers and robots, while careers in social work are predicted to expand, to deal with the continuing increase in popularity of social networking sites.
And here's the complete list of aspiration jobs, via Smart Planet:
- Body part maker: Create living body parts for athletes and soldiers.
- Nano-medic: Nanotechnology advances mean sub-atomic treatments could transform healthcare.
- GM or recombinant farmer: That’s "GM" as in "genetically modified" or engineered crops and livestock.
- Elderly wellness consultant: As an aging population increases in size, we’ll need folks to tend to their physical and mental needs.
- Memory augmentation surgeon: Like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, surgeons could boost patients’ memory when it hits capacity.
- ‘New science’ ethicist: With the rise of cloning and other ethically-dubious practices, ethicists will be needed to ford the river of progress.
- Space pilots, tour guides and architects: Space tourism will allow for space pilots, tour guides and the architects that will allow them to live in lunar outposts.
- Vertical farmers: The future of farming is straight up. Vertical farms in urban areas could significantly increase food supply.
- Climate change reversal specialist: Regardless of what you think about human-induced climate change, it’s clear we’ll need scientists who specialize in altering it.
- Quarantine enforcer: When a deadly virus spreads rapidly, quarantine enforcers will "guard the gates."
- Weather modification police: If weather patterns can be altered and adversely affect other parts of the world, law enforcement will be needed to keep things legal.
- Virtual lawyer: As international law grows to supercede national law, lawyers will be needed to handle cases that involve people living in several nations with different laws.
- Classroom avatar manager: Intelligent avatars will replace classroom teachers, but the human touch week be needed to properly match teacher to student.
- Alternative vehicle developers: Goodbye, internal combustion engine. Zero-emission cars will need smart people to design and manufacture them.
- Narrowcasters: As in, the opposite of "broadcaster." Media will grow increasingly personalized, and we’ll need people to handle all those streams.
- Waste data handler: Think of it as an "IT axe man"… for information. Waste data handlers will destroy data for security purposes.
- Virtual clutter organizer: Now that your electronic life is more cluttered than your physical one, you’ll need someone to clean things up — including your e-mail, desktop and user accounts.
- Time broker/Time bank trader: What’s more valuable than precious metals, stones or cold, hard cash? Your time.
- Social ‘networking’ worker: A social worker for the Web generation.
- Branding managers: These already exist for celebrities, but now everyone needs a "personal brand" so others can easily digest who you are and what you stand for.
You can read the full report here.
But for your average Joe or Jane, it basically boils down to: Romantic comedies in 2025 will still star a turtleneck-wearing architect with small glasses. Except his come on will be something about seeing the sun rise over the Eastern hemisphere, 100 miles up.
And in 2030, you'll find the world of technology as incomprehensible as your grandparents find the current day. And here we thought living through the internet age would make us savvy to social change. Oh grandpa, you're so cute! The reason I look different is because I just got this arm and that leg yesterday!