photo by Metro Library and Archive via Flickr
The future of American jobs has looked quite bleak in the past decade. But where most see doom and gloom, futurists see imminent expansion.
World renowned Futurist, author, and director of The DaVinci Institute Thomas Frey predicts that sooner rather than later, more jobs will exist in industries that have yet to be created. Below is a list of Frey’s most scintillating predictions on up and coming industries.
Personal Rapid Transit Systems (PRTs)
In this future sector Frey predicts that PRTs will make conventional methods of transit like airport, trains, and buses, obsolete. He notes that despite having innovated ways to speed communication (i.e. phones, email, video calls) transit over history has seen minimal gains.
Frey invisions projects like Elon Musk’s hyperloop playing a key role in the infrastructure of the future.
This future industry will center primarily around jobs that currently exist, but are focused on traditional methods of transit like buses, trains, etc…
Frey believes that instituting this worldwide infrastructure could be the biggest public works project humans have ever seen
In his description he also paints a picture of just how fast and what distances we may be traveling in the future using average speed and distance traveled of past generations.
Frey believes that sports will be among the sectors that see a dramatic influx of new and specialized technologies. These technologies, Frey States, will foster an industry which is devoted to robotic or A.I. simulations, physical analysts, and even genetic engineers who can craft the perfect athlete.
In his analysis Frey posits that much like we’ve seen in Watson’s defeat of Jeopardy champions Ken Jennings and Paul Rudder, as well as 1997 reigning world chess champion Gary Kasporov’s defeat by IBM’s team Deep Blue, sports may soon see electronic competitors.
Frey predicts that though the dehumanization of human vs. machine sporting bouts, may cause a bit of stir, this controversy will pale in comparison to the rise of what Frey calls “Super Babies.”
Super babies, Frey explains, may be be genetically engineered to run faster, jump higher, and generally outcompete other opponents. In his discussion Frey cites genomics company 23andMe’s patent on a “build your own baby” kit as an indicator of things to come.
Self analysis or “The Quantified Self”
In Frey’s industrial concept of “The Quantified Self” he takes a holistic approach to big data, and how it may help evaluate and subsequently better our moods, hobbies, and general life activities. The data surrounding this may create room for an industry wholly devoted to helping use such data for quantitative purposes.
Frey pictures a quantitative method to developing and assessing skills, attributes, and aspirations. In this personalized view of big data Frey explains that as big data and the internet of things monitor and record statistics on our daily activities–much like a fitbit measuring our running times or physical fitness–we will have access to a wealth of data that can be used to our advantage.
The data surrounding the quantifiable self may be invaluable to self assessment, and according to Frey such data may also displace current educational (especially collegiate) methods of evaluation–rendering current grading systems obsolete.
Contour crafted houses
With a little bit of 3D printing, Frey sees the efficiency of constructing houses skyrocketing in the future. This industry will require contractors and engineers who are capable of deftly operating 3D printing machines as well as conceptualizing the blueprints behind them.
By instituting a method of 3D printing called contour crafting, contractors can artfully and efficiently craft a house or building in a fraction of the time it may take by conventional methods.
In contour crafting a robotic arm, using the uploaded blueprints, squeezes concrete into a customizable and predetermined shape which allows for quicker and more eco-friendly construction. After arms build the design layer by layer, electricians and plumbers will be able to come fill the structure with appliances and wiring.
Though Frey sees this technology catching on in the not so distant future, he also notes that it is likely that construction teams will likely start small with contour crafting and then maybe scale up to larger projects.
Some companies are already diving full speed into such projects.
New education innovations like MOOCs and other online learning platforms have begun challenging traditional education models in recent years, and Frey believes that this academic status quo will only continue to be challenged in years to come. Frey forsees a demand for more counselors, administrators, and course planners, who are adept at providing mounds of information in as little time as possibe.
One way Frey sees education changing in the future is through what he calls micro colleges. In these colleges Frey sees students learning in a more trade-based, highly specialized, and less time-consuming matter.
As Frey points out, traditional colleges are often time consuming and increasingly expensive– a model that may be unsustainable in the future. As an alternative, micro colleges will offer students seeking a condensed and efficient platform for learning. This model will allow viable alternatives to displaced workers looking to enter new fields, as well as those looking to skirt the arduous and expensive model of traditional two or four year degrees.
Some potential micro college expertise areas Frey notes: dog breeding, beer brewing, drone piloting, 3D printing, data visualization.