Jobs for futurists


Updated 2012-02-17 :: version 05 – oh yeah.

Ever dreamed of a job that simply doesn’t exist yet? Or a career in an unheard-of field or discipline? You might just be a generalist/futurist-in-waiting, born centuries too soon (or into the wrong branch of the multiverse).

But titter ye not. You don’t have to be a life coach or motivational speaker to create your own career (they don’t have a monopoly on the idea, you know). So what’s preventing you from making something up? Just identify a need in society and then proceed to meet it, right?

But it isn’t all that easy to create a job or career out of thin air.

Jobs, those short-term solutions to the long-term problem (of acquiring resources for survival), are how a lot of us cope with the realities of keeping a roof over our head. And talking of realities, it helps if one’s job is anchored in … erm…  reality.

Still.

If you’re up for a bit of wishful armchair thinking (ideally on a Sunday night), then behold! My (even more updated!) list of jobs for futurists is here. And they’re just as far-fetched as ever.

So if you think you’re ahead of your time or in the wrong field, or just need some kind of cross-disciplinary mashup role to spice up your working life, look no further. It might even get you thinking about your current career in a whole different light. Maybe putting a different spin on it is all you need…

This version

Stanislav Lem’s quack science of Hencity, will probably never cease to inspire, so there’s still a bit of that going on. Items new in version 05 are purple-lilac. Just because.

The List (alphabetized, no less)

5D Artist

Forget 3D, or even 4D. The fifth dimension is where it’s at. With skills to model the histories of any system, you are commissioned to unfold the past as well as the future of any well-defined system of events. Such as the story or plot for a movie. Psycharcheologic evidence has greatly expanded the science of Time Energetics, and while predictions for real-life systems are still woefully inaccurate, this is not a problem in the world of entertainment. Now prequels and sequels are no longer entirely made-up. They are causally related to the original, and you bring these new worlds to life.

BoxNurse

Treats machines, devices or programs afflicted by security attacks and attempts to revert the resulting corruption of data and other entities. Specialist BoxNurses follow therapy guidelines for virCounselling the resident AI, if one there was, after a meltdown of the computing kind. see also: NetNurse, WetNurse.

Colonist (Astro-Colonist / Sea-Colonist / Dune-Colonist / Lunar Colonist)

Take your pick (although, I suspect the likes of Richard Branson would probably beat you to it. Or price you out of the neighbourhood).

Consenser

Consensing: the science of metering and quantifying opinion for extremely large, (possibly apathetic) populations over a diversity of perspectives and value systems in order to deduce the consensus points. Could be useful for virPolitics. Also, I’m sorry to say I’ve actually thought about this some more.

Datective

Sift through the tracks a person leaves in their wake as they move through the net. Oh wait… Google already has that job…

Denialist

Remember those twenCen DOS attacks? Take ’em up a notch. Imagine: your target wakes up to find that nothing bloody works. The local health authority wont schedule an routine dentist appointment for them, and even the local LOCALE won’t give them the time of day… literally. Mild befuddlement gives way to burning rage as each credit chip refuses to authorize even quotidian transactions, and the home net refuses to turn the lights on or make toast or run a hot bath. What’s going on? I’ll tell you what’s going on. Service networks are in realtime cahoots with each other now, and folks who won’t pay their bills should know better, shouldn’t they?

So. You Like? Appeals to a childish mean streak? Then apply to your nearest Collections Agency. No phone-calling experience needed, and no need to dish out knee-cappings either. Just hours of staring at a screen, bidding debt recovery splits for access rights to partner nets.

Ensconcer / De-ensconcer (EdE, pronounced “eed”).

You manage people’s networks, both real and virtual.. not to mention the finnicketies of making the 2 sets of spaces mesh nicely. Ensconcing is the art of ingratiating your client into new and helpful networks, whether for work, leisure, politics, partaking of strange new subcultures… you name it. People don’t have time anymore to manage their microfeed publishing schedules, let alone the inescapable rites of Liking and super-friending. So lend a hand, hob-nob-on-behalf-of, and make a few bob on the side. You are also responsible for managing the small horde of profiles, aliases and avatars with which your client makes themselves pseudo-known.

When there’s a scandal, or things go pear-shaped, you must de-ensconce your client IMMEDIATELY and start hunting for new networks, preferably with new aliases. Note: Your ensconce/de-ensconce times are published; as is your referral rate. It’s a regulated industry, don’t you know.

Equivalence Engineer (also ‘EE’, Equi-engineering / Equigineering)

Equivalence engineering is like ripping a discontinuity in the very fabric of reality, at runtime, and bit-patching the code with toilet paper and spit, and having it work. It is the voodoo-science of finding an equivalent history of a system – one that yields the same range of observed results (the equivalence point), but gets there via a radically different set of paths. When those paths pass through the equivalence point they will necessarily produce an alternate future – one that preferably saves time and money (or failing that, face)… while introducing (inevitable) perturbations that no-one notices. Wanna be amongst a very elite SWAT team of non-linear dynamicists? Wanna atone for botched histories with new and improved ‘as if this is what happened instead of what actually did’ futures? Want to  legally tamper with globally interconnected systems to redress issues? Send in your resume!

Gaiantologist

We’re going to end up with  a lot of interconnected systems. Why not study them as one being? You know it makes sense. Not to be confused with:

Gaiantolonogist,

…which is one who practices the somewhat-actuarial science of per-minute re-valuing of the ISO 5.0 International Standard Unit of Global Impact (a gaiantolon).

GASH Stylist (Genetically Altered Strands of Hair (GASH) stylist)

Genetically altered hair is the future. Women patently hate the hair they were born with, for no good reason at all. GASH styling is THE answer for those who insist on messing with the tresses. This is a fusion of gene-therapy and transplants, because for the particularly fickle, transplants of vat-grown wigs are just faster. Wards are well hidden from view, so don’t let the lovely salon storefronts fool you: this is a gory job. If you’re not peevish, it pays okay – especially at the top salons. And you get free discounts for your own ‘dos.

GeekMonk (also Meek, Gonk; colloquial: Monkette, Monkey, Gonkette)

We  all know the “Rapture of the Geeks” is bound to spawn a soy-milk-replacement-swilling, condo-dwelling, denim-clad, self-effacing sort of  RELIGION, the likes of which will seek to borrow from the vow-of-chastity / vow-of-poverty memeplexes (those being the low-hanging fruit on the tree  of things we can just about stomach in organised religion). When all of this happens, GeekMonks will be the new order of spiritual shepherds to pour their un-messiahnical brand of whoopass over our perpetually sinning behinds. Sinning having been redefined as ‘failure to compute’.  Make your money first before seeking enlightenment. This is more a lifestyle than a career.

Genomics Developer / Architect

You could write code to re-invent biology as we know it. Just remember not let “it” out of the lab… You’ve watched all the movies. You know what can go pear-shaped. I don’t need to tell you.

Guerrilla Diplomat

Like travel and world cultures? Think you could, acting as part of a sparse group of team-members, infiltrate another society or culture in order to surreptitiously seed / swap / supplant ideas and value systems? Just think… given enough infiltration time (which requires long-range forecasting via the virpolitic and recognitionist bents mentioned earlier), you could actually prevent war. Or sadly, cause it.

[update: holy moly – am I prescient or what? I wrote this before the movie AVATAR even came out! woot!!]

Humanizer

Those borgs need your help. They need to smooth out the kinks in their movements, and ditch that flattened affect if they want a people-facing job. That’s where you come in; over-glorified acting-coach-meets-anthropologist. Meets roboticist. Your year-end bonus depends on how many of your protégés pass their Updated Voight-Kampffs. see also: womanizer.

Kardashev I engineer

You could help build something that turns the earth into a Kardashev Type-I civilisation. How cool would that be?

Machine linguist

Because as machines begin to sprout their own languages for erm… communicating between each other, we might want to be able to eavesdrop a little.

Morpho-cosmetologist

Shapeshifting meets the beauty industry. Or if not the beauty industry, then all those ‘Otherkin’ who feel they’re stuck in a human body, instead of… I dunno, a the body of a Martian Elf-king.

Nano-medic Practitioner

Nano-sized machines to deliver health. ‘Nuff said.

(update 2010-04-26): deservingly laughed at by real scientists and real journalists alike, this one …I admit to being fascinated by the story…

Neo-neurologist (colloquial: NeuNeu, pronounced “noi-noi”)

With the increased pressures to acquire, comprehend and flawlessly recall vast amounts of information, most humans couldn’t cope with the first wave of devices that were supposed to help them marshall all that information into knowledge. Then one day some smartypants realised that interfaces that felt like an extension of the 5 basic senses were the way to go, and bingo – the field of Neo-Neurology was born. The resulting “assisted neurologies” (ANs) have led to a sort of taste-feeling, color-hearing, touch-thinking gibbering synestheticity… but hey: isn’t it great to inhale your favorite music at 20x playback speeds (your hijacked and re-routed olfactories won’t know any different, after all; it’ll still feel like an everyday kinda listen – and your aurals get freed up for some real signal processing).  Due to the highly personalised nature of ANs I don’t need to tell you that NeuNeus make a disgusting amount of money. Get yourself a WetNurse apprenticeship first, if you don’t want to go the university route…

NetNurse

It’s a lot like being a boxNurse, but taken to a whole new level. You restore health to larger, more complex internetworks of machines and intelligences. Specifically, you oversee Post-Trauma Restore Therapies for complex systems within the jurisdiction of the Net Health Authority that you work for. You miss your days as a BoxNurse (which, surely, is how you started out)… when you had time to look after the individual intelligences in your care. Now it’s all about performance indicators and efficiency. Sigh… See also: BoxNurse, WetNurse.

Pattern Analyst / Pattern Synthesist/ Recognitionist

I guess today’s breed of market analysts and advertising managers and channelizers are going to be the best poised to jump onto the first rung of this ladder.

Polity Designer

This a full, muli-media, multi-sense design craft with it’s roots in advertising, marketing and branding. As new nations and polities (both real and virtual) spring up in every space, they each need a sort of tribal brand that sets them apart from others. As a polity designer it is your job to imagineer the entire package deal: national dress, national or polity symbols, anthems, flags, virtual (or actual) currency, names of key places (towns, cities, hell the entire polity) and much, much more. Polity Design is now a fast growing discipline whose reach is touching ever more subtle facets of group identity. Passionate about design with the most sweeping scope? This could be for you!

Pregnancer

One skilled in the arts of tending an embryo to term, outside of a natural womb.

Women will at first hate you and want to claw your eyes out (though might never admit it). But they’ll come round. Oh, they’ll come right around.

Problemat

Unlike those namby pamby diplomats, your job is to get your counterparts from other nations to understand that THERE WILL BE CONSEQUENCES. You never explain exactly what these might be; there should never be any need to descend into the gory specifics.  The pay is extortionately good and for some unknowable reason, the clothes are incredibly cool. All previous gangland connections are (*cough*) “erased” by the acquiring government on your behalf (they have been shown to cause too many complications, otherwise).

Presence Agent

Isn’t it irritating as hell that in such a futuristic age, flesh and blood, face-to-face transactions still have to take place? Well… okay, they don’t really have to. But you know, they’ve acquired a certain cachet. There is nothing that oozes money, decadence and old-world aristo-culture like being physically present. Of course being physically present is messy, but it’s the symbolism that counts.

If you’ve got the looks and charm and that special je ne sais quois… if you exude that special character that your owner/handler wishes they possessed themselves, why the world is your oyster! Yours will be a life filled with travel, glitz, glamour, especially if you are the sole Presence Agent for a very rich person. There are less glamorous owner/handlers out there – businesses and government agencies… but never mind all that. Pay varies with who you’re presence-ing for. taboo: never actually introduce yourself as your owner/handler unless you have a contract saying you can do so.

Professional VR citizen

Why not? Virtual worlds are going to need colonising.

Note: a ‘Professional VR Citizen’ is very different from a designated RWC (Real-world Citizen, see below). They are not expected to take on the Samaritan ethos of the latter. They really are just extra bodies to populate a particular virtual world. The equivalent of RWCs in a virtual world are botSamars (bot Samaritans) and they are system-generated.

psychArcheologue

A weird and wacky outgrowth of anthropology, archeology and psychic analysis, where events, behaviours and motivations are understood in terms of the places and spaces in which they took place. Remains and other artifacts of earlier as well as contemporary/living societies provide fodder for analysis. Anything from an office to a living room to a tomb gives up information about who was there and what happened… if you can read the energy field…

RW Citizen (RWC, Real-World Citizen).

You are paid by the government to be conscientious, responsible, law-abiding and helpful at all times. This is because of the dearth of people who actually are.  At first this role was given to bots but unfortunately this brought out the worst in people, who seem to be more tolerant of naive-acting humans than they are of naive-acting humanoids. Only take this sort of job if you really need the money… the pay is terrible – just barely enough to get by, but there are several legal and tax perks. Each stint lasts 6mths to a year. Personality Profiling needed to get in. Lots of GeekMonks in this line of work.

Sequencer

No, you’re not a digital music device. Your goal is to optimise and synch all schedules know to you so that your boss wastes precisely zero minutes per day (unless it’s timetabled relaxation time). Interface with several machine agents working on behalf of hotels, airlines, clubs, spas, conference centers, train stations, hospitals and other very important people. When your boss says “have your people talk to my people”, they mean you. It’s your job to make sure everything and everyone (including your boss) turns up where they’re supposed to, and on time. Oh and you’d have to be part borg. Trust me, it’ll be easier that way.  Go get those upgrades…

Terraformer

Why not? where d’you think we’re going to hone this skill before we get to the moon or mars? We’re already botching up this planet. Might be an idea to start here first.

Time Broker / Time bank trader

Alternative, more meaningful currencies are going to evolve their own markets. And time banking already exists. You could be one of the people to take it to the next level…

virPolitics and virPoliticians

Because virtual ‘polities’ will replace their geographically-underpinned counterparts… So says Stross the sci-fi writer. That, and I foretell that ‘vir’ is what the prefixes ‘i-‘ and ‘e-‘ will turn into.

Warrior Princess (attempts to modify to “War Police” have failed severally).

It was an old Xena joke on alt.debunk.girly but it stuck. This began with a corps of ex-army women who chose to undertake humanitarian efforts in some of the most dangerous zones, both at home and abroad. Life expectancy is decidely crappy, and the spots tend to be filled by those disillusioned with vet therapy sessions, far more than they’re filled by civilians. Still want this job? read on…

WPs focus on protection, defence, security and medical assistance tasks, and are often recognizable by their advanced exo-skell suits, which they practically live in. Allows them to withstand most attacks, as WPs do not carry weapons and do not engage in any military maneouvers. Often individually designed/built, the suits have become synonymous with the term “warrior princess” itself; it now refers to men who have since joined the corps as well. The Princesses do not recruit; you basically just suit up and turn up. Room/food/boarding is basically whatever is availabe on the ground. There are no tours of duty and you work until you’re buried. There is however a central repository for the only stats that matter: lives saved.

WetNurse

Confusingly enough, a wetNurse looks after humans, unlike their BoxNurse and NetNurse counterparts. WetNurses are specialists in biomedical human-computer interface systems, with training in basic surgery. They are responsible for the healthy introduction of electronics into the human body, as well as safe disconnection and re-orienting when the mind/body suffers trauma as a result of interfacing or bio-hacks. WetNurses also monitor for the onset of net/REJECT issues and can hotswap wetware that better fits with their patients’ biologies. See also: BoxNurse, NetNurse.

Womanizer

Because women aren’t what they used to be. Noone’s really sure what the new breed of females are about anymore. Men stopped trying to figure them out a long time ago, having largely replaced them with harems of gynoids. These latter she-bots, having perfected the mechanics of being female, now want to be just like the women from those 21st century movies. They are modelled after them, after all. Understand: you are not to cure them of their Sarah-Jessica-Parker-itis. You are to enhance this trait. See also: humanizer.

***

As always, I’ll add to this list when I think of more…

Which ones entice you? I’d love to hear…

10 Replies to “Jobs for futurists”

  1. Hallo Mats, thanks for stopping by
    Gaiantologist is one of my favorites too…

    ps: You make me wish I could say something in swedish.

  2. Writing as a time bank Broker if the description of Time Broker / Trader in Fast Future’s ‘The Shape of Jobs to Come’ is taking time-banking to a next level I am horrified!

    1. Hello Roberts, thanks for stoppying by… the full report is at : http://fastfuture.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/FastFuture_Shapeofjobstocome_FullReport1.pdf
      (pg36) : The ‘Narrowcaster’ is a no-go; that’s not even a job a human will be able to do / keep up with.
      (pg39): The Time Bank Broker : it’s not all that scary – but it looks somewhat unstable in that it is perpetually in danger of devolving into a traditional monetary system. It would only really take off in places/situations where, for whatever reason, it is not possible to transact with hard cash.

      The only thing with teeth, and my fave in that doc, is Quarantine Enforcer (pg 31). Brief excerpt:

      “…A key requirement for enforcers will be a strong immune system and the ability to stand up to intense psychological pressures – a common scenario will be family members pleading to be allowed through the gate to see their quarantined loved ones. Hence an enforcer‘s daily routine may include taking a range of vaccines and supplements, a rigorous physical exercise routine, psychological training…”

  3. Well, it IS actually pretty scary. Time banking works because time itself is used as the alternative currency. Their version has a currency – a time credit – acting much like a monetary currency.

    In the Fast Future description a time credit is no longer equivalent to time. Their version of a Broker decides how many time credits a task is worth. It is fundamental to time banking that an hour of ironing is of equal value to an hour of, say, running Fast Forward – or the country.

    Availabliity of hard cash has little to do with why people might or might not use time banking. Unlike LETS schemes, time credits can only be exchanged for services, never goods. Operationally what happens is much like what anthropologists call Symetrical Reciprocity but with the time bank mechanism replacing the trust built up over time and the time bank facilitating the creation of (safe) social networks.

  4. Ah… I see what you mean. But the introduction of a monetary time credit illustrates my point exactly – it’s almost inevitable…? “Pure” timebanking systems everywhere are threatened with devolving into that state of affairs, surely. And you’re right that WOULD be scary… Anyhow. Thanks for stopping by again to explain… It takes me a while to get things. Hell I probably still don’t understand…

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