The Next Big Thing
Posts about next generation technologies and their effect on business.

Component skills of future roles?


juggle.pngThe other day I focused on the changes for education and automation… But what about our expectations? There is a great deal of concern about the elimination of jobs. Is the foundation of that really based on our inability to embrace the super-human capabilities that will be enabled and how that will change the roles we play?

The same automation that eliminates jobs also gives us significantly more capabilities – skills where humans excel. No matter how much we automate, there will likely always be work opportunities where human skills will be valued – until Skynet takes over.


We can now cultivate a network that spans thousands where just a few decades ago our network of ‘friends’ would likely be measured in double digits. The value of our flexibility, intuition and relationships will likely continue to be valued.


What are the component skills of the jobs of the future? Here are a few ideas:

  1. Change management – Individuals that can help others embrace change and transition to new modes of operation. They will need to be experts at context transfer.

  2. Transcendental optimization – Those that can move beyond just simple tweaking (that can likely be automated) to breakthrough optimization approaches.

  3. Disassemblers – What you shut down can be as important as what you start. These skills will focus on how to shut down existing environments.

  4. Strategic futurists – Roles that focus on envisioning the future and can convey that to others effectively.

  5. Ethicists – Functions that focus on the ethical and legal use of technology.

  6. Unique recognition – Although most situations can be handled in a standard way, those that can recognize when something is unique or at a critical inflection point will be crucial.

  7. User interface design – Although there will be less user interfaces required, the need to share that information and focus attention to greatest effect will be critical.

  8. Evangelist – Every good idea needs to be marketed effectively to be embraced.

  9. Modeler – All models are wrong but some are useful. The ability to effectively abstract complexity out of systems is a critical skill.

  10. Juggler – Keeping a number of balls in the air will continue to be crucial.

  11. Fixers – Abstraction is what makes many types of technology useful to the common folk. Sometimes though it doesn’t work and extraordinary measures will be required. Those who can do this best, will always have a job.

These can be aggregated together into thousands of new functions. What do you think?


dukestory | ‎04-16-2014 06:57 PM

Interesting article and I agree.    I believe mankind has been fighting the evils of automation for a long time.   However, with each new technology leap...employment and opportunity has grown as well.  Heck even the creation of SkyNet created human jobs as soldiers and as the artisans that supported the soldiers to fight SkyNet (terminator series).  However, I do believe that many non-technology jobs will be in the mix as well.  We will always have to have houses built, holes dug, plants planted, food harvested, etc and I do believe the "sweat of the brow" work will continue to be an important part of the forward movement of technology.  Even the Starship Enterprise had guys welding the outer portion of the hull as they worked on her in Star Trek.  So yes the skills that you outlined are important today and will be important in the future but I don't think "sweat of the collar jobs" will be gone.  If anything we might find an increase in demand for individuals that can do those jobs.

Johan Starrenburg | ‎04-16-2014 10:20 PM

history proof's you are right. The invent ion of the steam engine made people fair all peoples' work would be taken over by  machines. It is a fact that only 10% of the jobs that existed early last century still exists today.


automation might even free-up time during which people like to be entertained, feest their senses. It might turn out to be a great opportunity for artist of all kind. 

Jorge Pacheco | ‎04-17-2014 12:56 PM

I think that these skills are important today and of course will be in future.

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