During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the buggy industry went through a crisis. A new invention was about to take the jobs of hundreds of thousands of craftsmen and parts manufacturers. And the horse breeding industry was about to take a hit as well. It was the end of the Industrial Revolution. Machines continually replaced both skilled and unskilled laborers. The car was about to do it again.
Protests happened, but the juggernaut could not be stopped. While it took 50 years to completely displace the horse and buggy, it happened. But the advent of the car created a whole slew of new jobs from mechanics to body repairmen to car electricians.
We’re in the midst of a similar revolution. Automation is disassembling jobs. Even writers could find themselves out of a job someday because of AI and machine learning.
But with such change comes new things. New jobs will arise and if we’re smart, we’ll acquire new skills and pivot gracefully. Here are some fascinating jobs already on the horizon.
1. Space Habitat Design
Engineers are great at making things that last. They aren’t so good at making livable spaces. That’s where architects come in.
There will always be a need for architects and while brick and mortar might not be feasible in space, the concepts of comfort and aesthetics will never go away. Jeff Bezos would probably agree. He wants to put one trillion people in space.
And he’s put a lot of money into doing so. I’m willing to bet that his company Blue Origin will soon need both designers and architects who specialize in space living. Start studying now!
2. People on Demand and On the Go
The autonomous vehicle revolution is on its way. But what will people do with all that time they are no longer paying attention to the road?
If you’re smart, you’ll use your time wisely. This means getting stuff done.
Whole new industries will crop up around the autonomous car industry. We’ll see people basically living on the move. And jobs will crop up as well.
Imagine getting your haircut on your commute. How about a doctor’s appointment or even a violin lesson. The infrastructure for experts and people on demand is already there with things like Uber and AirBnB.
Maybe you’ll be the first person to create a professional share business. Let me know if you do, I might want in on it.
3. Autonomous Car Traffic Controller
It might be a while before cars can fully govern their own traffic patterns. What if the President comes to town and traffic needs to be diverted? Unless we invent the Fate Super-Computer soon, AI and machine learning just aren’t ready.
Just like airports with flight traffic controllers, cities will need people to monitor car traffic. Cars will possibly communicate with a central system in the city and someone will sit behind a console and respond if something goes wrong.
This is a short-term solution to the problem of autonomous vehicles in large cities. AI and machine learning will eventually take over.
4. Man-Machine Teaming Manager
Alan Turing understood that machines will never think like us. They may be able to approximate human learning and speech patterns, but they won’t ever be human. Thus we will need people who understand machines, especially once machine learning gets better.
In the future, we will no longer “program” our computers. We will teach them things much like we train a dog or a young human. But once they learn, they take over the tasks taught.
This means that machines will be capable of making and completing their own goals much like a human employee. If you’ve ever worked in either a Quality Assurance or HR department, you’re probably imagining the headache. How do you manage both machines and humans working independently in the same space?
What if the machines perform way better than the human? What if the machine develops its own goals that supersede the goals of the company? What if they build Skynet? (Just checking if you’re awake out there.)
You will need an expert in both machine learning and how learned machines interact in a human environment. You will need someone to help you set up a plan and set up future interactions and expectations for machine-human collaboration.
5. Human Designer
While we watch countless films and TV episodes about androids that look like us, you might look for a brand or logo etched into the DNA of actual humans some day. That’s right. The world of Gattaca might only be a few years away.
Right now, researchers are working on the ability to make changes in target DNA. Gene editing is already a thing. Soon we’ll be able to go to our local clinic, pick out child’s traits, and get implanted.
The messy way we created humans might be a thing of the past. There will be a need for people who know how to edit genomes and the DNA of future children without messing up. From technicians to full PHDs, a whole slew of jobs will appear once we finally figure out how to design humans from the DNA up.
Don’t Panic. Just Pivot.
There is no need to panic when change happens. Even if you failed to see it coming, you can always make changes in your own life to fit the times. Just like a brand or company must pivot to survive at times, you must remain open-minded and flexible.
The best companies continually add value to their products and services. As an entrepreneur, it’s your job to add value to yourself and your business. Keep looking to the future and you’ll continue to profit. Stagnate and you will surely fail someday.