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Jobs of the Future for the Economy of Tomorrow

Updated on August 17, 2009

James Canton's Extreme Future

Is the economy of tomorrow upon us? James Canton is a self-proclaimed futurist who makes it his life mission and work to investigate and forecast the future. In fact, he has become so good at forecasting the trends of tomorrow that he has been invited to share his insight with some of the world's largest organizations including world-class conglomerates and national governments. In a bold book called The Extreme Future, Canton outlines what he foresees as the trends of the next 15 to 40 years. Within the context of his outlook, he outlines the economy of tomorrow and suggests advanced tech jobs that will be available for those who are daring enough to prepare for them.


Four Drivers of the Economy of Tomorrow

Canton outlines four advanced technologies that will converge to create the economy of tomorrow and provide jobs of the future. Those four technologies are:


Nanotechnology is the manipulation of atoms to make new artificial materials. For instance, manufactured products are made from atoms. The properties of those products depend on how those atoms are arranged. If we rearrange the atoms in coal we can make diamonds. If we rearrange the atoms in sand (and add a few other trace elements) we can make computer chips. If we rearrange the atoms in dirt, water and air we can make potatoes (Merkle). Thus, nanotechnology is the manipulation of matter at the atomic level to produce new drugs, fuels, materials and machines (Canton).


Biotechnology is a science of decoding DNA and other biological properties for the purpose of health care, life extension and medicine (Canton). Applications of biotechnology include (a) the directed use of organisms for the manufacture of organic products (such as beer and milk products); and (b) the use of naturally present bacteria by the mining industry in bioleaching. Biotechnology is also used to recycle, treat waste, clean up sites contaminated by industrial activities and in the future to repair genetic defects and chronic diseases. Currently a $1 trillion per year industry worldwide, Canton predicts this industry will grow to $25 trillion by 2030.

Information Technologies and Networks

Infotech innovation is related to products and services relevant to computing, telecommunications, and networks. Canton guesstimates this industry will grow from $2.5 trillion in 2005 to $7 trillion by 2020 with such applications as (a) computers formed as wearable devices; (b) seamless wireless mobility connecting everyone, everywhere on the planet; and (c) anywhere and always-on Internet connectivity for free.


This newly advancing technology is dedicated to understanding the brain and how people think and to developing solutions for increased human mental capacities.

Firstly, neurotechnology - brain imaging and other new tools for both understanding and influencing our brains - is accelerating the pace of change almost everywhere, from financial markets to law enforcement to politics to advertising and marketing, artistic expression, warfare, and even religious belief. Secondly, neurotechnology is working to produce drugs, devices, and materials that correct and enhance mental capacities.

Canton foresees possible applications tied to neurotechnology as (a) Stem cell therapy for repairing memory (like dementia or Alzheimers); (b) brain-machine implants to activate mobility from paralysis; (c) silicon nano-retinas to provide sight; (d) age reversal on cancerous cells; (e) Genomic neurotherapy to reprogram disease-causing genes; (f) enabling neurons that control robotic arms and legs; and (g) neural engineering to rewire brains and combat mental illness.

Canton believes that advances in these four areas will provide more jobs than people will have the capacity to fulfill, but that those who have the foresight to train in these new jobs of the future will be handsomely compensated in the economy of tomorrow.

Jobs of Tomorrow for the Future Economy

Based on his description of the Extreme Future, Canton suggests the following jobs of the tomorrow:

Top Jobs by 2015

  • Neuro-Medical Techs
  • Personal Protectors: Personal Security Techs
  • Organ Cloners
  • Biofuture Therapists
  • Quantum Scientists
  • Real-time Business Executives
  • Online Consumer-Marketing Wizards
  • Health Enhancement Therapists
  • Cancer Enablers

Jobs by 2020

  • Knowledge Management Advisors
  • Nano-Bio Entrepreneurs
  • Artists, Writers, Poets
  • On-Demand Supply Chain Designers
  • Global Headhunters

Jobs by 2025

  • Reality Interactive TV Producers
  • Gene Engineers
  • Robotic Psychotherapists
  • Cyjacks: Antihackers
  • Personal Privacy Advisors
  • Personal Identity Finders

Jobs by 2030

  • Space Market Planners
  • Climate-Change Forecasters
  • Solar-Fuel Developers
  • Holographic Game Producers
  • Poets
  • Customer Knowledge Mining Specialists
  • Antiterrorism techs
  • Neuro-Marketing Managers
  • Hydrogen Marketing Managers
  • Renewable Energy Entrepreneurs
  • Real-Time Supply Chain Designers
  • Nano-Manufacturing Agents
  • Health Performance Enhancers

These are just a few employment opportunities foreseen by Canton for the economy of the future. His challenge to every American and the American government is: will we have the wisdom and the courage to overhaul our education system to prepare the coming generations for the inevitable realities of the economy of tomorrow?

More Jobs by 2020

 Futurist Josh Calder, leader of the research and consulting firm Global Lifestyles program at Social Technologies LLC, came up with his own list of jobs by 2020 they include.

1. E-scrubber -- Works to undo or minimize the indiscretions that people
accumulate on the Web.

2. Deceptionist -- Provides tech-enabled deception services for those
wishing to disguise their activities.

3. Unrealtor -- Creates virtual tourism, adventure, and retail destinations.

4. Realizer -- Creates real versions of virtual objects for people, from
grog tankards to sports cars.

5. Nano-decontaminator -- Cleans up nanomaterials now being spread
through the environment.

6. Genetic dietician -- Creates diets tailored to people's individual
genetic makeup.

7. Geoscaper -- Makes corporate and private properties look attractive in
Google Earth-style aerial views.

8. Eye pilot -- Operates small, remotely piloted, camera-equipped aerial
vehicles over war zones, disasters, and other locations of interest on
behalf of news services, nongovernmental organizations, and private

9. Sexbot controller -- Many things can be done remotely. Not for the

10. Unplugger -- Counselor/mental health professional who helps wean
people from excessive technology use.


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    • ecoggins profile image

      ecoggins 6 years ago from Corona, California

      Thanks ShawnB2011 for stopping by and giving your input. I appreciate your encouraging comments very much and have to agree that the unplugger will be a useful member of current and future society.

    • ShawnB2011 profile image

      ShawnB2011 6 years ago from Arizona

      Great article. I like number 10 the Unplugger. I think we could use that now and not later. It is already being seen that we all, including kids of all ages are spending way too much time with our computers and gadgets as is. An Unplugger I could foresee being a top job in the future for sure! Interesting article, keep em coming.