January 17, 2007

Transhumanist jobs of the future

Ever wonder what jobs will be like 40 years from now? Roma Luciw takes a stab at predicting future vocations in her article, Job prospects charting new territory.

But before we get to her list, here's a breakdown of mid 19th century jobs in London, England:
  • 168,701 domestic servants
  • 29,780 dressmakers and milliners
  • 28,574 boot and shoemakers
  • 21,517 tailors and breechesmakers
  • 20,417 commercial clerks
  • 18,321 carpenters and joiners
  • 16,220 laundrykeepers, washers, and manglers
  • 13,103 private messengers and errand boys
  • 11,507 painters, plumbers, and glaziers
  • 9,110 bakers
  • 7,973 cabinetmakers and upholsterers.
  • 7,151 silk manufacturers, (all branches)
  • 7,002 seamen
  • 6,741 bricklayers
  • 6,716 blacksmiths
  • 6,618 printers
  • 6,450 butchers
  • 5,499 booksellers, bookbinders, and publishers
  • 4,980 grocers and teadealers
  • 4,861 tavernkeepers, publicans, and victuallers
  • 4,290 clock and watchmakers
  • Yes, jobs change over time. And with accelerating change in effect, vocations will change quicker than ever before.

    To help her come up with her list, Luciw contacted a number of futurists, including Joyce Gioia, a futurist who consults on workplace issues and is president of Herman Group, in Greensboro, N.C, and Richard Samson, a director at New Jersey management consultant EraNova Institute.

    Among other changes in the professional landscape, these futurists predict the onset of "hyperjobs" that will focus on "enhancing the human body by keeping it well, reversing the signs of aging, or implanting tiny computers that extend the brain's memory and expand cognitive powers." Human bio-enhancement, they argue, promises to be a big field with fascinating opportunities like bioaesthetic coaching, somaelectronic integration, experience design, and personal genome optimization.

    Mmmmmm, personal genome optimization.

    Among the various job descriptions listed, Luciw offers a job description for "Transhumanist designer/technician" who "will work with people who have suffered such disabilities as amputation, loss of hearing or eyesight, speech impediments, and/or lack of physical mobility."

    Other job descriptions include, Director of Influence, Corporate alumni director, Personalized entertainment programmer, Manager of diversity, Offshore outsourcing co-ordinator, Corporate historian, and Chief health officer. More,
  • Bioaesthetic coach
  • Experience designer
  • Health-enhancement mentor
  • Intercommunity farmer
  • Personal genome optimizer
  • Chief health officer
  • Manager of faith-based relations and initiatives
  • Chief innovation officer
  • Executive chef, space airline
  • Global work process co-ordinator
  • Skycar mechanic
  • Underwater hotel manager
  • Vice-president of experiences
  • While interesting, and even quite possibly prophetic, these projections should be taken with a grain of salt.

    First, many of these jobs will arrive much sooner than 40 years from now, particularly those the health care fields.

    Second, what these projections fail to take into account is how enhancement and computer technologies will empower individuals to be their own coaches and self-managers. Future tech, including personal AI assistants, ubiquitous access to authoritative information, and expert systems, will enable people to better manage their own affairs, activities, minds and bodies.