Though some predictions about automation paint a bleak future, others offer a more optimistic outlook, predicting that technological innovations will create up to 21 million jobs.
In fact, about 85% of the occupations that will exist in 2030 haven't been invented yet, according to a report by the Institute for the Future.
But students and workers don't have to wait until 2030 to start experiencing the future of work, Erin Winick writes for MIT Technology Review. Winick highlights five professions poised to grow in 2018—and how those jobs may fare in the long run.
Job 1: Renewable-energy technician
The U.S. energy industry is moving towards natural gas and renewable energy, and the industry's growing job market reflects that, Winick writes. Wind turbine technicians and solar-photovoltaic installers will be the fastest-growing professions over the next decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
While robots are not yet dexterous or mobile enough to perform these tasks, renewable-energy technicians may face automation in the future, she writes.
Job 2: Machine Trainer
More firms will need employees to teach AI software to be intelligent, Winick writes. Google, for example, recently hired 10,000 workers to train its machine-learning technology, she adds.
But as programming becomes more standardized, employees may not need to understand the intricacies of machine learning to train them, says Avi Flombaum, dean at the Flatiron School. In the future, robot programmer may become a more accessible, entry-level position, he predicts.
Job 3: AI engineer
Professionals with AI expertise are among today's most in-demand talent, Winick writes. And as automation remains poised to reshape the nature of work, an AI skill set will likely be in demand for years to come, she predicts.
Job 4: Video-game streamer
Game-streaming websites will grow in popularity, Winick predicts. Twitch, for example, employs more than 25,000 players and is growing fast, she adds.
Job 5: Caregiver
As other industries face automation, many health care professions still require a human touch, Winick writes. And as the population ages, the demand for caregivers will continue to grow, she adds. Home health workers, for example, are estimated to grow by 426,000 across the next ten years, according to the BLS.
Caregivers can likely expect to maintain job security in the coming decade, says Jason Hong, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University. The profession is less likely to be automated because it relies on empathy, he adds (Winick, MIT Technology Review, 1/10).
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