Tracey Follows | What industries might prove sustainable for a human workforce that could easily be outpaced by technology? We know that some jobs will disappear whilst new ones arise. But instead of thinking about what these jobs are, we should be thinking about where they are. For there will be only three types of work for humans in the future.
There will be jobs on earth, in space, and in virtual reality environments. That’s it.
And if you have a child now embarking on education and thinking about a future career, rather than wondering what qualifications they might need for what trade or profession, why not ask them instead to think about what kind of environment they would prefer?
It is not too far into the future, a cursory look at what is happening in scientific and technological fields makes it obvious that change is happening fast and within a generation or two, we’ll be thinking very differently about the jobs that humans can do and where they do them.
Space tourism finally looks to have taken off, with Sir Richard Branson announcing last month that Virgin Galactic is to become a public company, listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Only four days ago, Nasa announced a public-private partnership with Elon Musk’s Space X to expand commercial uses of space and to strengthen U.S. space transportation. And let’s not forget that Jeff Bezos already spoke of his hopes that Blue Origin would be the first to provide commercial passenger flights in space. Investment will now start coming in fast as space begins to open up as a proper market with all kinds of start-ups spotting opportunities for space products and services, and more and more citizens becoming interested in experiencing space as a leisure activity or destination.
But it is more than just tourism. Fully-fledged industries will now emerge that operate in space, not just on earth.
We’ve seen the success of small satellite companies already, we can now hope to see more. Mining and construction is going to become a large space industry. Robert Bigelow, of Bigelow Aerospace has been vying for access to the International Space Station to open it up to commercial interests for a long time. He wants to appeal to high net worth individuals who holiday in space with luxury hospitality, which could become possible once the ISS becomes a launch pad for the building of other private space stations around it. We will see over time, how inhabiting space will require not just hotels but city developments, the usual kind of infrastructure and utilities that an earth-bound city would require.
Earlier this year, AI Spacefactory won Nasa’s competition to design a 3D-printed habitat fit for Mars and other extraterrestrial locations. The prototype is called “Marsha.” The aim is to become the first building on Mars. It may be that many of the jobs in space revolve around space tourism, but it may equally be that most of the jobs in future space are military, or are providing security to protect people or property in a weightless, lawless, world.
Virtual reality jobs
Earlier iterations of the Nasa competition had invited submissions as virtual designs. And virtual designs, virtual skills and virtual realities should be the other environment career councillors will be asking us to consider in future.
Peter Diamandis launched last year’s X Prize competition to develop a real-life robotic avatar enabling people to complete tasks in a physical environment whilst still being at least 100km away, sending only one’s senses and actions to another location. In an interview with sponsors, Red Bull, he explained “you put on a pair of VR goggles, headphones, a haptic suit, and as you move your fingers, the avatar’s fingers move. And as you move your arms and walk around, the avatar moves its arms and walks around. And you can see through its eyes and hear through its ears.” The organizers hope that disaster relief and remote surgery will be amongst the more purposeful applications in the future.
Sports is another huge opportunity for virtual reality. Not just gaming in the traditional sense, but the ability to invent new skills-based sports, in virtuality. Training, scouting and competing are ancillary services needed to garner huge audiences, all of which signals growing commercial markets that will require people to work in them. Take something like VR Drone Racing. The Drone Racing League is a global professional drone racing circuit that started as an underground hobbyist sport. It’s now aired to 57m people in 90 countries around the world with still more unmet potential. Immersive environments such as these require a different set of skills and create a different set of possibilities, and create entirely new industries as a result.
So whether it is construction, transportation, hospitality, sports or surgery, there are myriad possibilities for employment in outer space and inner space.
Human resources departments and people management have often adopted models that pay attention to personality and values and all have presumed we are working within a world that is physically real. It is important that in the future, we have matched people’s mindsets i.e. their mental health and not just their physical abilities, with the exact environments in which they work. For some, an environment of work that is tangible, solid and obeys physical laws will be important. Other people might be more suited to exploring many versions of the world in virtual realities, never quite grounded but always “immersed.”
For others, they can cope with the idea of a less regulated space, that is unchartered and utterly different from the environment in which they were raised. However the specifics emerge, it seems clearer than ever that there will be three types of work in the future and new students, employers and employees will now have to ask themselves to which of the three they are most suited: the physical world, the virtual world, or off-world?
Source: Tracey Follows.
Three Types Of Work For The Future. [ONLINE]
[Accessed Aug. 7 2019]