The miners and weavers and farmers have been replaced by data-entry technicians, marketing assistants, and people who work in ‘something to do with computers’. But the march of time is relentless and change is inevitable.
Familiar roles will still survive. There will always be room for lawyers, politicians, tax collectors, sex- workers, consultants and ‘humorous’ columnists. Like cockroaches, they will survive any cataclysm and emerge blinking into the light. Different, but stronger. If none of these rock your hoverboat, then imagine what other skills we’ll need in future.
A demortifier — a person who will go through your entire online presence and wipe everything unedifying you have ever published, such as the semi-literate spelling you used on Facebook while ranting about “sum pepl jus stab u in d back dey no who dey r”, and the vaguely racist arguments you got into in the comments section underneath a YouTube video of kittens. The demortifier will also go through your Facebook friends, deleting any that it deems unsuitable — a process known as a Frenema. You may need a new identity, given the online trail of idiocy you’ve left. In which case, you’ll need a Control-Alt-Deleter.
Even the job-killing robots will create other roles. No-one will want a colleague or household minion who sounds like the person who says “press 1 to. speak. to. a. customer. services. assistant”. All of those robots will have to sound familiar. Why not get a job selling your voice to makers of plain-speaking robots or, better still, become what I like to call a Not-so-grim Reaper and collect other people’s voices and life stories for programming into the robots of tomorrow?
Scientists tell us the first 150-year-old human has already been born — he/she will also require different needs. Consider your average 150-year-old. Who’s an appropriate care assistant for him? A 20-year-old? Of course not — the six-generation gap would be far too much. They may not even speak the same version of English. The care industry will have a huge gap in the market for 90-year-old carers. At least they will have some idea what it was like in the old days.
Speaking of the care industry, we’ll need therapists — loads more therapists. Everyone is talking about themselves now. Even men. As the acceptance that mental health is as important as physical health continues to spread, the psychological check-up will be like getting your bloods done. Allied to that, the future will give us an awful lot more complexes that will need to be addressed. Nanotechnology in medicine will lead to a huge rise in the numbers of people who feel that something is crawling up their back. We’ll need reality therapists to refocus our ability to deal with the real world. It’s definitely a problem for me. Yesterday, I tried to take a screenshot with my eyes, rather than just remember. As technology siloes us more from one another, therapists will become conversation consultants — telling people how to make small talk and accept someone’s reply without checking it on Google. It’s a good job that there’s no time like the present to prepare for the future.