Robot-proof your kids by teaching them to perform "unpredictable" jobs

On Quartz, Dave Edwards and Helen Edwards assert that after studying 30 professions, they've concluded that the occupations that are most resistant to roboticization are those that are "unpredictable" — CEOs, school psychologists, economists, allergists, immunologists, and environmental scientists.

As pronouncements about the future of work goes, this is pretty thinly sourced — why did they pick 30 professions? How did they pick them? What led them to believe they were not tractable with machine-learning systems?

But worst of all, the list leaves off the most surefire occupation in a roboticized world: political agitator for an equitable distribution of the fruits of roboticization.

We found one common factor in these clusters: unpredictability. Where the job requires people to deal with lots of unpredictable things and messiness–unpredictable people, unknown environments, highly complex and evolving situations, ambiguous data–people will stay ahead of robots. For instance, our people cluster doesn't include just any job that handles people, it includes jobs that deal with people in unpredictable environments like school psychologists and supervisors of firefighters and repairers. And our bugs and bad things cluster doesn't include just any health-care job, it includes jobs that handle complex relationships between ecological systems and human health like allergists, epidemiologists, and microbiologists.

We also found that these low-automation jobs relied on skilled management of real-world systems. For instance our spaces and structures cluster highlights that no matter how important the digital world becomes, we will always need people to design and manage the physical world like aerospace, civil, environmental, and marine engineers. And although software can automate plenty of math, humans are required to apply that math to real world systems in roles like economists, management analysts, and treasurers.

The skills your kids should cultivate to be competitive in the age of automation [Dave Edwards and Helen Edwards/Quartz]

(via We Make Money Not Art)