Economists describe it as a “Second Machine Age” whereby technology is replacing or displacing millions of traditional jobs.
In fact, Irish futurist Re Dubhthaigh says two sectors that will undergo massive transformation are accountancy and law.
“Accountancy and law will go from being respectable, well-paid professions to barely existing in a generation,” he predicts.
The new jobs in the coming decade
1. Space salvage astronaut
The problem of space junk needs to be tackled. Scientists are planning to launch a huge ‘Pac-Man’ satellite into space which will fly around gobbling up satellites to clean up the space junk that is hurtling above Earth. Space salvage astronauts could be ready for lift-off in five years’ time.
2. Cyber-crime scene investigator
Cyber-crime scene investigators will be in demand as they will hold the key to solving audacious hacking attacks that will become far more frequent. The likes of cyber-crime sleuths and ‘ethical hackers’ with the skills to uncover cyber-fraud and cyber-terrorism will be the big earners in the future.
3. Virtual assistant
A virtual assistant (VA) is typically a self-employed entrepreneur who provides administrative, technical or creative assistance to clients remotely from a home office. There will be a massive surge in demand for outsourced VAs as firms struggle to cut costs.
4. Drone air-traffic controller
The era of flying robot parcel deliveries is here. The Swiss postal system is testing a new package delivery service that uses drones as couriers. DHL has been using drones for automated regular parcel delivery to North Sea islands. Amazon, Google and others are also developing delivery services by drone. Drone air traffic controllers will be in high demand.
5. Photonics engineer
Global industry is being transformed by photonics and other uses of light in the same way they were transformed by electronics. Surgical instruments, high-speed computer communications and pollution measurements all rely on photonics. Ireland will need the skills pool to develop the next generation of photonics devices.