Posted By CIRCUS STREET
Those of you who were lucky enough to attend Mindshare’s amazing Huddle event yesterday may have had a chance to visit the Circus Street stall and been assigned a flawlessly accurate prediction of their future employment. The event’s overall theme was “The Journey to Posthuman” and given the entirely legitimate concerns expressed about the impact of automation on employment, we decided to take the opportunity to build on some of our previous articles, in order to make predictions about how professions may evolve.
So, how did we arrive on a shortlist of ten jobs for the event?
As a fun event, we had to make sure that the jobs on offer fitted the mood, but we also wanted to take the opportunity to spark some serious conversation about our changing relationship with the workplace and technology, as well as the factors that will allow humans to continue to offer value over machines.
Over the next 100 years, the brain and technology will become ever more interconnected. Smart Body Consultants will help employees interface more with their own devices by coaching them how to use the direct pathways of communication that now exist between their brain and external devices. Not just about neuroscience, this role will encourage a holistic approach to data synchronization, with disciplines such as yoga and meditation of particular value to practitioners.
Elon Musk’s recent announcement of his “Neural Lace” research (1) may mark the latest in an explosion of research that may fundamentally change the way that we interact with machines. We have already seen this research result in everything from mind reading toys (2), video streaming from the brain (3), and restoring movement to paralyzed patients (4). But the brain isn’t plug in and play. Learn to properly synchronize hardware and “wetware” is something very real physicians have sometimes already gone to extreme lengths (5) to study. As the line starts to blur between man and machine we can expect this to become and even more key part of medicine.
As delivery drones become more common, we will start to see a rise in criminals interested in hijacking them for their cargo. Security Drone Operators will be tasked with the management and protection of convoys of autonomous drones. In charge of protecting everything from confidential documents to rare and expensive objects, all using remote control escort drones to fend off attacks from pirate drones, hackers, net guns, and groups of weaponized cyber-pigeons.
This was one of the more whimsical jobs from the event. While it’s unlikely that Amazon will ever be forced to resort to convoy tactics in order to get their drones through the dread badlands of Salford, as more and more valuable goods start to be couriered around by unmanned robots, then so to will the temptation to intercept them. There has certainly been no shortage of interest in developing ways to remove them from the sky (6, 7), and protecting drones from electronic intrusion attempts will likewise become a serious concern (8).
You can’t teach style, but you can use deep network AI to access surveillance data at the most exclusive locations in the world and generate algorithmic predictions of upcoming trends. Using their extensive knowledge of all things trendy, Trend Aggregators will become an integral part of any company’s DNA, consulting on all product releases, from market research to product development and prototyping.
Can a computer be taught about style? or can it learn for itself by watching those who have it? Brands are already spending money trying to find out(9). Let’s face it for every confident fashionista there is at least one worried wannabe who just wants a little reassurance. Smart clothing technology is one of those things that continually never quite comes together, aside from the odd crazy student project(10), when it does land for real though(11), expect OOH marketing to undergo a renaissance almost overnight! Which leads us nicely on to…
Influencer marketing taken to a whole new level. As an AR Actor, you’ll be a part of an agency’s OOH inventory, paid to wear plain clothing embedded with QR codes. Every AR-wearing bystander will see you differently, thanks to GPS tracking, watchful AI and a programmatic ad bidding process. Person 346 is walking towards the station and she’s bought three pumpkin-spiced lattes in the last two weeks. Her journey home takes 36 minutes – and she’s sure to be thirsty at the end of it. If Starbucks win the bidding process, she’ll see you as their mascot, which might just entice her to stop to purchase a thirst-quenching latte.
The combination of programmatic media and augmented reality promise to turn almost every available surface within the city of the future into a potential advertising surface and the human body is certainly no exception. While you are unlikely to see pedestrians sporting QR codes, it’s likely that at least some people will amenable to a more subtle mechanism allowing them to get paid for walking around. Of course, the real goal here for fashion brands is going to be in persuading a celebrity to do it.
When you get down to it can anything online really be considered secure in the future? Audio records can be faked, video spoofed by AI and no database seems safe from hackers. If companies need to keep a record of something important they will make use of the last remaining un-hackable storage medium: your brain. As a Professional Witness you will use complex memorization techniques to provide living storage to a variety of confidential information, using skills that date back to the dawn of humanity. You’re bringing the oral record into the corporate world.
Pretty soon it will be nearly impossible to tell for sure whether electronic records have been falsified. Video and audio can now be falsified in real time (12), we can place words in any mouth, and fake nearly any possibility. In a year of fake news and malicious media manipulation (13), it’s easy to see how society move towards a renewed need for the human witness as the one last unhackable storage medium. At least for the time being…
Future behavioral monitoring systems will know what the customer intends to buy before they do. As a Retail Persuader, the trick is to design store systems that draw the customer’s attention to the right items without giving the game away. Customer 678 is looking for a new TV and a simple credit check reveals that he’s loaded. Ping his mobile to suggest products to him as he walks around the store. If he starts to look interested, you’ve programmed an AI to send him a ‘save 10% if you buy today!’ offer that he can’t refuse.
Again, this is one of those things that is already happening around us without us really noticing, from store layouts (14), manipulative scents (15), lighting tricks (16), estimates of target value (17), to dynamic pricing changes (18) Retailer tricks are endless (19). When this is coupled with machine learning technology designed to evaluate mood and intent (20), the challenge for retailers is likely to be figuring out how to use all the information they are gathering without tipping their hand and triggering a customer backlash.
Technology is now more entwined with our daily lives than it has ever been. As a Smart Home Consultant, clients will hire you to design their dream smart home. What view do Mr. & Mr. Patel want to see out of their bedroom window in the morning? What kind of persona should Ms. Garcia’s bathroom mirror have? Does Mr. Dubois want his smart lock to remain unhackable? You will be responsible for designing a smart world around your clients’ daily routines to maximize their ability to take advantage of a fully-fledged IoT.
Security is probably the greatest concern here, the IOT has been plagued from the beginning with security issues, as few people expect to ever need to “patch” their lightbulb or their toaster, fewer still would have the slightest clue about how to go about doing so. But failure here could have dire outcomes not just for homeowners but for broader society, even now “botnets” created from poorly secured network devices are a major factor in high profile DOS (Denial Of Service) attacks online (21). In the future the temptation to integrate these systems even more directly into new home constructions will be immense.
VRchitects were key players in the transition from the IoT to the IoP (Internet of Places). VR is now commonplace and everyone owns a pair of smart glasses. We use these to experience the web around us, not through browsers and WiFi hotspots, but in physical spaces. Brands have been known to create VR cities, even worlds, around new products, showcasing their features in engaging VR visions to increase interest and sales. But, it’s not just about design. The future web is a collaborative and competitive 3D SERP space, so you have to understand Search. If your content doesn’t make the cut it may physically drift off into virtual obscurity to free up the best real estate for more popular creations.
This job was actually featured in one of our earlier articles speculating about future job roles (22). Some aspects of the concept are fairly obvious and exist within job roles today, but we thought that the really interesting concept in play is that of the communal implications of a virtual internet as a single place. The idea of popularity impacting access to physical geography, in the same way as relevance grants placement on a SERP’s page is an evocative one, conjuring up images of a constantly shifting impossible Metropolis growing online.
Viral content is still the holy grail of marketing and brands search for the right ingredients to make that ‘lightning in a bottle’ moment a reality. VCR’s will be responsible for reconstructing the history of viral content using internet archives and scraped social activity. Their job will be to then reverse engineer the precise circumstances that brought the viral content about to (hopefully) give their own brand a ‘eureka!’ moment.
Attempts to study what makes a piece of content go “viral” are nothing new (23, 24), and like many aspects of marketing, we are already seeing startups attempting to leverage machine learning towards this objective (25). However, one thing that has attracted much less attention is exactly how successful content spreads through the internet. This is probably because this kind of retroactive backtracking of content that has genuinely achieved viral status on its own merits (as opposed to being the focus of massive outreach spend) is incredibly difficult and time-consuming. Will blindly replicating successful content bring brands success? Of course not! But there is a lot of valuable information to be gleaned here, and machine learning may provide the tools we need to do it.
Dox Hunters will be responsible for finding and closing security vulnerabilities for prominent people, and they are a must-have when it comes to brand safety. Viewability & Ad Fraud were the problems of the 2010s – future brands will worry about information, and if it could fall into the wrong hands. Can search engines still find your CMO’s old blog with their personal mobile number included? Perhaps your CEO is thinking about running for political office – might it be possible to wipe video evidence of the infamous ‘noodle incident’ from internet archives before the first leg of the campaign? Time to give a Dox Hunter a call.
Doxing (26) represents one of the darkest aspects of current online behavior, and beyond the concept of safeguarding against it as a job, it’s likely that such skills will become more and more part of the average person’s skillset. We need to ensure that we are equipping the public, young people in particular, with a better understanding of how their personal information can be gathered and persist online. Hopefully, if similar job roles do exist in the future it will come as part of a greater recognition of online harassment as a very real problem.
Of course, the ten jobs featured at the Huddle only represented the final shortlist of jobs from the ideas we started with. Here are a few more that didn’t make the final cut….
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