Many workers are at risk of losing their jobs to automation, but the tech sector should have less to fear from the changes than most industries. IT talent will be needed to run the systems that replace human workers, and new jobs for them will also emerge as technology becomes ever-more embedded in our daily lives.
Techworld asked futurists James Woudhuysen and Graeme Codrington about the new tech jobs they expect to emerge. Here’s what they predict.
- Digital scrubber
Most employers already check online presences of job candidates before offering them the position and our expanding data footprints are making it hard to hide any regrettable digital behaviour.
Codrington, the founding director of TomorrowToday, a strategic insights firm, believes this need for online reputation management will create a new tech job that he calls a “digital scrubber”.
- Automated recycling specialist
British recycling rates have stagnated at about 44 percent and the UK appears unlikely to hit its target of 50 percent by 2020. James Woudhuysen, a visiting professor of forecasting and innovation at London South Bank University, believes that “automated recycling specialists” could help improve the uptake.
“Instead of you and me having to sort our rubbish and knowing that the council will mix it all up anyway and there are 58 different symbols to understand … we could get machines to do that,” he says.
- Robot technician
If robots are to become part of our daily lives they will need skilled specialists who can maintain them. Codrington expects this to create huge demand for robot technicians.
“Maybe you’ve got a cooking robot in the kitchen at home and that breaks down. Today we call a plumber or an electrician or general handyman. In future, it’s going to be somebody with quite serious technology skills,” he predicts.
- Electric vehicle charging infrastructure developer
There will be around 548 million electric vehicles on our roads by 2040, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, which will require a vastly improved charging infrastructure to run
Woudhuysen expects this to create a new market for electric vehicle charging infrastructure developers.
- Driverless car traffic managers
Codrington expects that within 20 years the London congestion zone and the M25 could be solely available to autonomous vehicles, which would create a need for driverless traffic managers who can keep the roads running safely and efficiently.
“Today we have air traffic controllers at the major airports,” he says. “I think you’ll have traffic managers who manage the algorithms of networks of driverless cars.”
By Thomas Macaulay
images via Shutterstock
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