Predictions about the future always tell you most about the time they were made in. Let’s say a Brylcreemed futroscoper from 1961 was trying to soothsay what kind of jobs would exist in 2011. His imagination would naturally dwell on Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s recent space flight. I can just see him hammering the typewriter now, the excitable fool: Sputnik Commander! Rocket Bus Conductor! Space Warrior!
My suspicion is ... the future could well be, you know, a bit meh. Technology will astonish us, but it will still fail (did our 1961 guy foretell the forehead-thumping evening I recently spent defragmenting my hard drive?). Metropolitan couples watching the 2061 equivalent of Mad Men, set in a 2011-era internet start-up, will find some of our workplace attitudes appalling (‘To think how ageist we were!’), some laughable (‘Look at the size of that BlackBerry!’) and some, perhaps, admirable (‘Remember social security?’).
They’ll still probably be trying to pull the girl in accounts, angling for a promotion and moaning about the Tube. With any luck, they’ll recognise us as humans, just like them. So what would you rather your grandchildren became – a vertical gardener, a space architect or a geeky A.I. guy?
One of four future professions commissioned by Andy Taylor for ES magazine
. Text by Richard Godwin.
Labels: Job Prospects