Technology often gets blamed for job losses, but in some areas it’s spurring big-time demand for workers.
The future of work is going to be determined by artificial intelligence and automation. These technologies will eliminate some jobs, but they will also create new opportunities and greater demand for the jobs that humans still do best. We decided to shine the spotlight on five positions you will see much more of on job boards in 2018.
The U.S. energy industry is transforming, moving away from coal and toward natural gas and renewables. With that change comes the need for more workers: according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, solar photovoltaic installers and wind turbine technicians will be the fastest-growing professions by percentage over the next 10 years. Both are anticipated to grow by about 100 percent. The tasks performed by these workers require dexterity and mobility that robots are far from achieving, so automation won’t be a concern for some time.
It takes a lot of hard, grinding work to train AI software to actually be, you know, intelligent. A robotics company might need data on thousands of instances of gripping a part on an assembly line, for example. In December, Google hired 10,000 workers to help clean up content on YouTube and train its machine-learning technology. The jobs created may not be glamorous, or even permanent. But they will be crucial in the transition to a more automated workforce.
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AI companies are in a recruiting frenzy—employees with top knowledge on the subject are so hard to come by that salaries can rival those of professional athletes. At the Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) conference in December, companies held parties and gave away mountains of free swag to attract talent. There probably isn’t a more sought-after skill set in the world of technology—a distinction that’s likely to hold for the foreseeable future.
The game-streaming website Twitch already has over 25,000 people earning money on its platform, and that number is growing fast. With over 15 million daily active users watching gamers on the platform, demand for content (and players) is skyrocketing.
Although many jobs can be automated, health care still requires social interaction and a human touch. And the aging of the U.S. population will bring increasing demand for home health and personal care aides. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that these occupations will grow by 426,000 and 754,000 workers in the next 10 years. Despite the need for people to fill these jobs, many of them do not pay well. That’s something that could soon change, though, as demand continues to rise.