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5 Fascinating Jobs That Don’t Exist—Yet

This article is part of our June series about the future of work. Click here for more.

Emerging technologies, automation, digital platforms, and data are reshaping the workplace at a rapid pace—so much so that 85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t even been created yet, according to research by the Institute for the Future (IFTF) and a panel of 20 digital and academic experts from around the globe.

How can digital leaders move confidently into this new world of work? 

We’ve sifted through the predictions and uncovered five of what we think are the most interesting jobs set to emerge in the APAC region. Each one requires its own exciting collaboration of skills and expertise. Some are close to becoming a reality, while others will come as technology crosses new barriers.

1. Augmented Reality Journey Builder
Last year, IT consulting firm Cognizant released a report featuring 21 jobs that will come about in the next 10 years due to emerging technologies. One of the predicted careers that stood out was that of the “augmented reality journey builder.” These technologically savvy “experience economy” directors will help to design, write, create, gamify, and build personalized, in-the-moment vignettes for client trips into AR.

“As an AR journey builder, you will collaborate with talented engineering leads and technical artists to create the essential elements for customers to move through an augmented reality experience of place, space, and time,” the report stated.

Among the skills and qualifications of this position: experience in massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), proficiency with creative language/lingo of AR hackathons and game jams, and “exceptional knowledge” of the leading head-mounted display equipment. An added bonus (the right candidate will get one, literally): demonstrated experience as an improv actor or comedian using motion capture. 

2. The Simplicity Expert
As effective as technology can be in providing workplace solutions, the systems that bring the associated processes, projects, and teams together can be quite complex.

Enter the “simplicity expert,” a person whose role is to analyze the relationships between people and technology and streamline business operations–for example, reducing a multitude of administrative steps to just a couple, or turning three days’ worth of work into a one-hour job.

“Part designer, part math whiz, and part sociologist, the best simplicity experts need an understanding of how humans work to come up with new and creative methods of working that benefit people throughout an organization,” according to the report “Careers 2030,” by CST.

Simplicity experts are a great example of the role creative–and human–problem solvers will have in assisting businesses with reorganizing resourcing and operations to create efficiencies.

The Telesurgeon
Telesurgery is already a common conversation point in the Asia Pacific region, home to numerous remote communities that could benefit enormously from technological advancements in the health and medical sectors.

Indeed, the development of telesurgery has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of emergency cases in hard-to-access locations, made all the more feasible thanks to drones, which “will be used to airdrop a telesurgery unit into villages,” according to the CST report. The skills to deliver these kinds of treatments will go a long way in democratizing healthcare in Asia-Pacific.

In addition to traditional medical training, telesurgeons must be skilled with robotic assistants and be able to perform surgery via a variety of video systems. Of course, “the cool head and steady hand of a master surgeon are still critical.”  

Human-Machine Teaming Manager
Human-machine collaboration will underpin the workforce of the future. As a result, an opportunity will soon exist for professionals with a graduate degree in experimental psychology or neuroscience to specialize in the pairing of robots with workers.

This so-called “human-machine teaming manager” will match the strengths of AI–such as accuracy, endurance, computation, and speed–with the strengths of humans–including cognition, judgment, and empathy.

“The key task for this role is developing an interaction system through which humans and machines mutually communicate their capabilities, goals, and intentions, and devising a task planning system for human-machine collaboration,” according to Cognizant. “The end goal is to create augmented hybrid teams that generate better business outcomes through human-machine collaboration.”  

Garbage Designer
Professions involving waste management might not sound enticing, but that could soon change thanks to a trend called upcycling, which is fuelling demand for skilled and creative designers who can think out of the box and guide their organizations to a future economy built on environmentally friendly practices.

Suited to those with a background in materials science or industrial design, upcycling is the process of converting old or discarded materials into something more useful (as opposed to recycling, which breaks down materials). Manufacturing companies from furniture to fashion will hire garbage designers to rethink which materials they use to build their products, with the ultimate goal of being waste-free production.  

This is particularly important for a region like APAC, which is the world’s worst plastic polluter. A report published in The Wall Street Journal estimates that China alone contributes 8.8 million metric tonnes of mismanaged plastic waste to global waters every year. 

In a culture where both employees and businesses are looking beyond the paycheck to find a strong sense of meaning in their work, jobs that promote an environmental agenda are set to become increasingly popular. 

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