The jobs of the future are already here – and some are really weird

Here is a German version of this text.

Every discussion about the consequences of automation eventually has to lead to the same conclusion: Millions of human jobs are about to disappear because machines will be better and/or more efficient at doing them. This could lead to massive political and social unrest. However, like during any wave of structural disruption due to technological progress, new jobs and tasks suited for humans will emerge. But they might not have too much in common with the tasks and frameworks of the traditional, stable nine-to-five model and its variations.

=======
Sign up for the meshedsociety weekly email, loaded with great things to read about the digital world. Sent to more than 500 verified subscribers (by November 2017).
=======

If you look closely, the shift is already in full effect. Over the past ten years, numerous new professions, jobs and ways to earn money have appeared. For many people, embracing these has been a necessity due to job loss. For others, new opportunities arose out of entrepreneurial foresight or the urge for independence and freedom from the constraints of traditional employments. Some of these new tasks can have concerning societal or psychological implications.

Let’s dive into the new jobs which didn’t exist ten years ago (without a claim for completeness). Overlaps are common.

Crypto currencies and blockchain

  • Miners
  • Speculators and investors (full or part time)
  • Founders, advisors, opinion leaders
  • Service providers and cottage industry catering to this completely new sector

Gig Economy

  • Transportation and delivery services, but also various other types of tasks performed online or offline (including also so called “Clickworkers”). Globally millions of people are participating in this model of work. See also: Independent work: Choice, necessity, and the gig economy

Content moderation for large online platforms

Influencers and internet celebrities

  • Individuals who manage to acquire large numbers of followers online and who make money mostly through sponsoring and affiliate

E-commerce intermediaries

Curation

Podcasts

Education

Gaming

Webcamming

Disinformation as a business

Troll factories and online propaganda

Partly automated content farms

And so on. If you have additions, please leave a comment.

Not all of these tasks and jobs will still be around in ten years. Some will, others won’t. However, this list emphasizes how far we already have progressed into the massive structural change of work caused by the rise of the internet and advancements in automation – and how some of the new jobs are creative and associated with positive attributes, while others are either slightly strange or downright destructive.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *