Robots will create jobs for creative people, says company that tries to predict the future

Robots will not replace every worker and their use in the workplace will lead to more jobs for people who are creative, according to a company that aims to predict the future.

Artificial intelligence (AI) will operate alongside humans to “take away the grind” from work, enabling people to be more imaginative and productive, experts from The Future Laboratory told a Microsoft Surface event.

“Robots will actually create jobs because humans have unique thinking,” Steve Tooze, Special Projects Editor at The Future Laboratory, said. “They will take away the grind that we don’t want to do. This will free us up to the imaginative stuff, the creative stuff.”

Microsoft Surface devices were on show at the event
Microsoft Surface devices were on show at the event

One new profession that will be created will be for people to share their experiences of working with robots and help others embrace technology to transform how they live and work.

To prepare for those roles, children should be learning creative skills such as storytelling now, Tooze added. Youngsters should master using a pen and paper to sketch out and explain ideas so they can do the same when they grow up to tell people and businesses how AI can benefit them.

“Students need to be able to tell a story, build narratives and see patterns,” Tooze said at the FutureProof Yourself event at Microsoft’s London office, which looked at how youngsters can prepare themselves for the workplace of the future.

Ruth Marshall-Johnson, Director of Business Development at The Future Laboratory, added that schoolchildren “need to learn to draw on paper or use software to visualise, map and show people ideas”.

These skills, as well as new ones that will be required, will need to be refreshed throughout their working lives, which will be much longer than they are today, Tooze said.

“We will need lifelong learning because people will live longer; we could live to 150 and be healthy for 100 of those years, and just look at the [technological] changes we have seen in our own lives. In the future we will need regular education.”

Jobs of the future

The global robotics market will blossom into a $153 billion business over the next five years, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch. While many manual jobs will be put at risk by the explosion in AI, people with skills in areas such as virtual reality will be in demand.

More than 12 million virtual reality headsets will be sold in 2017, according to market researchers CCS Insight, and by 2020 the total global market for VR technology will be worth $40 billion, a study by SuperData revealed.

Jerome Ternynck, Chief Executive of recruitment firm SmartRecruiters, said: “VR is going mainstream and we’re seeing it move from gaming into consumer electronics and software applications, and out into the wider economy. There will be whole new categories of job opportunities available across many sectors for those who have the skills and mindset to take advantage of them.”

Around 65% of school pupils will move into careers that don’t exist yet, according to the US Department of Labor. With the world becoming more digital, Microsoft and The Future Laboratory teamed up to look into potential careers of the future.

Called the “Tomorrow Jobs” report, the study identified 10 job categories that don’t exist today, along with the skills needed in order for students to future proof their careers. These included Space Junk Archaeologist, Rewilding Strategist, Battery Innovator and Human Parts Designer.