What jobs will look like in 2050 / New Adelaide

Future Vision

When Neil Armstrong became the first person to step on the moon in 1969, we knew humanity was headed to places, and ideas, few had yet contemplated. Global leaders in space exploration have set their sights on Mars and commercial space flights could be on the cards for paying customers of Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic by the end of 2018.

Ask futurist Morris Miselowski and he will tell you, by 2050, there will be new jobs for space exploration, space mining, space travel and even space hotels. “By 2050, we will definitely be in orbit,” he says.

Society has always evolved, often thanks to new inventions. First came the wheel, then the Gutenberg press, the light bulb, the telephone … the list goes on. Now, however, we see more than one technology emerging at a time and the pace of change becoming ever more rapid. Ten years ago, social media was a concept in its infancy and web designers were still “in vogue”. Today, Miselowski says, people depend on technology, whether it’s in the shape of mobile phones or pacemakers. “I believe already that we are homo cyborgs, not Homo sapiens, because we are so closely attached to technology,” he says.

The way we work and our skills are changing, too. Blue-collar jobs are being automated and white-collar, including bank clerks, accountants, lawyers and even engineers seem next in line for conversion as technology increasingly becomes capable of fulfilling repetitive tasks more accurately. Mathematicians use computers to figure out numbers, biologists solve problems through computer simulation, engineers use design programs for their creations and training is increasingly conducted in a virtual world.

By 2050, the 9-to-5 office job will be a thing of the past. Jobs will be flexible and task-driven and people will have multiple income streams, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics predicting the next generation will have, on average, about six careers in their working life.

Tonsley Innovation District precinct director Philipp Dautel says businesses of the future will be small and agile, rather than the “large mass employers of the past”. The Tonsley innovation hub, in Adelaide’s southern suburbs is living proof of the shift away from heavy manufacturing.

The 61ha precinct was the site of Mitsubishi’s car manufacturing plant until the last car rolled off the production line in 2008. Today, it is shaping to be something more like Australia’s first Silicon Valley. Under the original factory roof, start-up programs mix with cutting-edge research, large tech companies and educational institutions. A residential precinct is being developed nearby. “At Tonsley, we are providing the workspace of the future — a place where you can work, live and play,” Dautel says. “We are providing a supportive and flexible environment and plenty of collision spaces to foster collaboration and innovation.”

Collaboration could also affect our future leadership models. UniSA’s Dr Chad Chiu says the future will move away from a masculine, hierarchical and power-differentiated model to a shared leadership model.

“More and more studies have indicated that communal or power-equalising styles are indeed more effective,” he says. “If we agree that future leaders should adopt a different management approach, our job design should correspond to the change to assist managers to better supervise employees, such as using a flatter organisational design, installing flexible working hours, better allowing working-at-home, or sharing the jobs.”

Economics is a main driver behind the constant change, according to Flinders University Professor David Powers. The head of the Centre for Knowledge and Interaction Technology at the university says automation is not “a good or bad thing”, but it is necessary to compete in a global market. It is helping the West to compete with the Third World and “sweatshops in Asia” until those countries seek to advance.

The other force driving the change is the entertainment industry. “The biggest force for development of computer power, new hardware, algorithm and technology is actually the entertainment industry,” Powers says. “The changes in technology have largely been based on the aesthetics of the experience rather than promoting new capabilities.”

On the northern edge of Adelaide’s CBD sits one of its most futuristic-looking buildings. Often described as the cheesegrater (because of its diamond-shaped facade elements), the SA Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) has become the core of what will soon be the largest biomedical precinct in the southern hemisphere. Here, researchers are already using a strategy that, according to the institute’s deputy director Stephen Nicholls, will become common practice by 2050 in a bid to advance the health of the community. They work in teams to combine a broad range of expertise, from medicine to commerce, to ensure new research can be commercialised effectively and quickly. “We need big solutions to big problems and we need to do that by bringing people together,” says Professor Nicholls. “And that’s certainly something we’re trying to evolve with our research at SAHMRI.”

Health will be one of the most critical topics when it comes to the future. The ABS projects the country’s population could more than double from 24 million to 48.3 million by 2061, with the country’s age structure expected to change dramatically. About one in four Australians is expected to be aged over 65, and one in 14 will be over 85, by 2061. Growth in this age group has massive implications for health, housing and retirement income planning, with many Australians expected to work to a much older age than they do today.

Despite getting older, the population is also expected to be healthier. “What we considered elderly 20 years ago isn’t even elderly today. And what’s elderly in 2050 will be considerably older,” says Nicholls.

And yet, the way healthcare is being administered will have to change dramatically. “It’s going to become much more mobile, less centralised and less dependent on big hospitals for chronic disease management and so we’ll have to work out ways how we deliver healthcare where people are.” The fact that SA already has one of the oldest populations in the country could give this jurisdiction an advantage. “The state is already starting to understand that it needs to focus resources and attention on how we live in SA moving forward with a large proportion of elderly individuals,” Nicholls says. He believes several aspects of health will improve significantly by 2050, with new jobs being created as a result:

IMPROVED imaging will enable us to visualise the human body in greater detail.

THE ability to collect “big data” will enable us to predict epidemics.

GENETIC testing will become more affordable.

THE way a person is diagnosed and treated will be increasingly personalised.

Professor Nicholls says disease prevention and finding effective treatments will be the focus of the future. “We need to find effective ways to treat our patients but we need to do it without breaking the bank,” he says.

Miselowski predicts much of the job creation will be in the health sector in 2050. He deduces that nanomedics will be able to manipulate, change and cure the human body from the inside and surgeons will increasingly use robots to operate. People will carry an internal device that allows authorities to constantly monitor their wellbeing, and diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and cancer, will be better understood.

But it’s also in the aged care and nursing sector that humans, not machines, will play a lasting role. “We’re herd animals. We’re community oriented. We like to interact with other people, it’s hardwired into our DNA,” Miselowski says. “There are a lot of human interaction jobs that will continue to be part of our landscape but the tools they use and the way that they do it will not in any way, shape or form be how they’re doing it today.”

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Our education system isn’t future ready / ABC Nightlife

The current education system, as great as it once might have been (and that’s debatable), is no longer up to the heavy lifting of tomorrow’s employment and life landscapes.

It was custom-built for on an industrial revolution model of work and prepared students for a known world, where work and careers were set and teaching systematically towards known outcomes made perfect sense.

It was a world where we taught just in case, where the learner had to be self-sufficient and filled to the brim with lots of information, just in case they ever needed it.

In this world, rote learning, remembering and recalling were all important, but today and tomorrow we have to know the basics, what to look for and how to look for it and then trust that technology will fill us with just in time, just enough, just for me skills and knowledge top ups we need to carry out new tasks and daily life.

In this space children have to be given more than just the 3 R’s, we owe it to them to teach them the far more practical skills of being human – the 4 C’s Collaboration, Community, Creativity and Communication.

Many of todays blue and white-collar workers have already been made redundant by technology as we see the jobs that rely solely on the completion of repetitive tasks (bookkeepers, law clerks, drivers, shop assistants, cashiers etc) disappear.

When technology replaces all the mundane and the ordinary in the workplace all that is left is for us to say HI! (Human Interaction). In this new landscape humans will need to create, interpret, make sense of, imagine and do humans things that are not easily replicated by machines.

And this is where I picked up the conversation with ABC Nightlife’s Phil Clark in our semi regular catch up, exploring all things education and careers.

A really stimulating and thought-provoking discussion and one that we need far more of and thankfully  tonnes of callers agreed, so have a listen now and then continue the Future of Education debate here and elsewhere.

ABC Nightlife, Phil Clark (49 mins 29 secs)

Futurist Morris Miselowski predicts the jobs we’ll be doing in 2050 | News.com.au

721565-957d7760-caa1-11e3-9484-00a97bf135c7reprinted from Business Section of news.com.au

“I CAN’T wait to be a transhumanist designer when I grow up,” said no child, ever.

That might not be the case for long if futurist Morris Miselowski is right. He predicts the job could become as common as a teacher or builder in the years ahead.

The renowned futurist, who has spoken at TEDx, thinks the workforce will change drastically in the next 35 years, with 60 per cent of us doing jobs that don’t exist.

More: Five jobs that will disappear within five years

Most will arise from technology and the human body, dedicated to improving our health and extending human life, according to Mr Miselowski.

“In the last 150 years we have doubled our life expectancy in Australia, we’ve done that without the technology that [is now in place]” he told news.com.au.

Here are his predictions for the top 10 jobs in 2050:

Nano medic — Someone who works with medicine on a molecular level using tiny robots to investigate problems in the body and solve them from the inside out.

Memory augmentation surgeon — Someone who understands how thoughts are stored in the brain and may have the ability to restore memories for people with dementia and alzheimers.

Body part maker — The logical extension of all those kidneys, hearts and livers being made by 3D printers at the moment.

Transhumanist designer/engineer — Despite the sci-fi title, Mr Miselowski sees this as a human resources role concerned with understanding the capacity of robots and humans, then acting like an “orchestra conductor” to harmoniously get the best out of both of them.

Gene programmer — We can already do this to an extent, but research may provide the ability for a full-time programmer to manipulate genes and prevent disease.

Just a typical day in the office, programming genes.

• Brain augmenter — OK this one really does sound bizarre, but Mr Miselowski said it’s a role that would work by manipulating parts of the brain to avoid phobias and reduce disease. But only for good mind you, only for good.

• Spaceport traffic control — If Richard Branson is already planning the first bunch of space tourists, think how many people will be travelling there in 30 years. This is basically a glorified traffic cop.

Weather controller — Bear with us on this one, but Mr Miselowski said in 30-40 years time we’ll have a much better idea of how weather patterns are caused, with people dedicating to finding ways to manipulate it that could have potentially huge implications for food crops or natural disasters.

Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic is already signing people up for space tours.

Ethics lawyer — To protect privacy and debate ethics of all this possibility. “Because we can is not a good enough reason, to me,” Mr Miselowski said.

Domestic robot programmer — Much like a plumber or a tradie, this could be the person you call when something goes wrong with your smart home or domestic robot.

The plot of Johnny Depp’s latest movie "Transcendence" was inspired by futurists like Ray

Before you scoff at it all as a bit far-fetched, Mr Miselowski said many of these jobs are the natural extension of technology we already have in place.

They’ve also been publicly made high-profile goals of companies like Google, whose engineering director Ray Kurzweil has written a book The Singularity, outlining how man and machine could merge to become immortal.

Russian millionaire Dmitry Itskov is also working on the 2045 Initiative to build an avatar with a human brain, where one’s personality can be transferred at the end of their human life.

Mr Miselowski said the nature of the workforce will change as well with less of the structured 9-5 working day and Saturday/Sunday weekend than we have been used to.

“Our kids will most probably live to 120 and 150 in relatively good health. They will definitely work into their 80s but they will not work 9-5 the way we understand today.”

Google’s Engineering Director Ray Kurzweil has written a book describing how man and mach

Instead, more jobs will focus on output rather than being in an office for a set number of hours with time off wherever possible.

“We work whatever hours are required to make that reality, our time off might be a Tuesday afternoon …. I don’t think the notion of the weekend will be very important.”

Despite the major changes, he expects things like family, having time off, the ability to learn and receive medical treatment will remain crucial.

But with technology making companies more powerful, essential human questions need to remain at the heart of major decisions.

“It has to come back to human hands, we need to be careful.”

What do you think the job landscape will look like in 2050? Continue the conversation on Twitter @newscomauHQ | @Victoria_Craw | @MrFuture


The World of #Jobs

future jobsIn a future world there may not be a retirement age, we may not all be working 9 -5 work, we may not have job descriptions and we will almost certainly not have culturally sanctioned employment certainty.

In this new landscape of employment we will work project and task, work at any age, work wherever is geographically or digitally best, come and go from employers and clients and work to a more fluid lifestyle, where work life balance and today’s social norms are culturally historical and no longer viable.

This world brings one of possibility and adventure, it mimics a pre industrial age, where we lived on the land we farmed or near the work we had, we worked when work needed to be done, where and when it needed to be done, lived with and close to family and within a community. This is not a rose colored view, times were as tough and as wonderful as they are today.

The constant is that there is and has been no perfect solution to employment and work and most probably will never be. The difference ahead is that we are moving into an era of greater choices and flexibility, where unlike the last 150 years we will not need as often many hands to make light work nor we will not need to gather together at a centralised means of production, but rather for many of us our work will be more decentralised and more fractured in its design, tasks, execution and measurement.

It is this world that James Lush of radio ABC Perth and I spoke about in our regular Saturday morning catch up. James’s  questions were thought provoking and made us both reach deeper to find threads of solutions and hints of tomorrow’s thinking.

I’d love you to have a listen to this interview and then share your thoughts on the future world of jobs.


What’s over the job and career horizon?

future careerThere’s a lot of conversation going on around the future of careers and jobs, given recent manufacturing and mining redundancy announcements and it has everyone asking what careers and jobs are future proof and which are not.

Firstly many of today’s and yesterdays professions will still be around including – teachers, doctors, health professionals, retailers and many others will still be around in 50 years, but how they do their jobs, where and when they do it and how important it may be, will evolve over time.

The foresight issue is that today’s Grade 1 student will finish high school in 2025 and if they go on to further education, will eventually enter the workforce in the late 2020’s or early 2030’s. What will the world of 2030 look like? What career choices will there be? What will work be and mean to them?

If we already know with certainty that 2030 will be significantly different from today then how how do we get our children safely and competently between here and then? How do we educate them today for a world of tomorrow that we can only guess at, a world in which they’ll live to 120 years of age, work in well into their 80’s, have 6 careers and 14 jobs and work project and task driven, physically and virtually in a mixture of solo activities, in teams and across the globe.

What are the career choices of tomorrow. What and how do we teach our children so that are nimble, flexible and ready for this new evolving world? How do we cope and deal with the industries and jobs that will fall away between now and then and how do we evolve, find, accept and champion the industries and jobs of tomorrow?

This topic ran hot on ABC Radio Local and Australia and here are some of the other interviews I did Around Australia on similar themes and questions so for my views on all these questions and more have a listen now and then share your thoughts on what’s waiting up ahead for our children.

Jill EmbersonJill Emberson – Mornings ABC Newcastle – Monday 13th February


Ron TaitRon Tait  Breakfast Program ABC South West -Western Australia – Monday 17th February

Kate O'TooleKate O’Toole – Afternoon Program ABC Darwin – Monday 17th February

Sonya FeldhoffSonya Feldhoff  – Afternoon Program ABC Adelaide – Tuesday 18th February







A post #Toyota and #Holden Future

career compassWith all the understandable uncertainty around jobs and careers triggered by Holden and Toyota’s recent shutdown announcements listeners to Geoff’s ABC Perth Breakfast show were wondering what their kids should be studying and what Future careers might be available to them.

We started by looking at the realty that many of today’s careers are going to stick around including healthcare which according to Department of Education Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) will see job demand increase by 13% between now and 2017, retail trade will have a 8.9% increase in job demand and construction will have a 10.1% increase in job demands.

Other jobs, in particular routinised easily transferred to machinery jobs, will decrease and fall away.

We chatted about today’s school leavers having 6 careers and 14 jobs in their 60 years of work and 120 years of life and the notion that work, what it is and how it’s done will be very different in the future as we begin to evolve and innovate new jobs, tasks and industries that today are unthinkable.

Some of these future jobs will include Transhumanist Engineers who will undertake a HR role and employ both people and machinery/robots and teach both to work harmoniously with each other. Data Scientists (someone who manages and makes sense of data) are on the rise in geek land and will become a must have employee over the next few years as are Genetic Counsellors and Telematic Engineers.

The employment world of tomorrow is evolving. On one end of the work spectrum we are returning to a pre-industrial time where work was decentralised, transitory and time appropriate and on the other end of the work spectrum we will continue to have professions that will always require substantial labour, infrastructure and and resource investments and in between these two book ends we will see a plethora of endless physical and digital career and work style possibilities.

Have a listen now to the interview and then share your thoughts on the careers and industries of the future.

ABC International Radio – Tech Spot 24 July

gallery_iphoneIn this weeks segment we chat about Amazon.com’s acquisition of Zappos.com for $847 million (who I think is one of the best online retailers of all time), Britain’s National Gallery offering its art on the iPhone, Microsoft announcement that windows 7 is finished cooking, before finsihing up with a discussion of the Tech jobs that cloud computing will eliminate over the next decade and what are the jobs of the future?