Future Jobs and AI Self-Driving Cars


By Lance Eliot, the AI Trends Insider

Jobs. Can’t live without them, yet have to live by them. A Gallup poll indicated that 85% of employees hate their jobs. Yikes, that’s a lot! Or, I suppose, you might wonder what those other 15% do that makes then not hate their jobs, and whether maybe they are either blind to hating their job or stubbornly won’t fess up to it.

There are jobs of the past that no longer make sense and you’d be hard pressed to find someone that still performs the job. Included in these past jobs are being a switchboard operator, an ice block cutter, a knocker-upper (someone that was a human alarm clock and was paid to wake-up factory workers to come to work on-time), a lamplighter, a log driver, and so on.

To illustrate how jobs can become popular and then shrink in size, consider the plight of the switchboard operator. At one point in time, there were an estimated 100,000 switchboard operators in the United States. For those of you too young to remember this position, it involved connecting people that were trying to call each other on the telephone. Today’s automation takes care of this task and the switchboard operator became extinct.

Being aware of which jobs are “in” and which jobs are “out” can be important for a variety of reasons. The economy can be impacted when jobs disappear and likewise be impacted when new jobs appear. Society also is impacted by having people decide what kinds of jobs they might be able to get and what the requirements are for those jobs. If you are in a job classification that’s on its way out, you would be wise to try and retool for a job that’s already in or might soon be coming in.

For those of you with children, I know it might seem hard to already be thinking about what they’ll do for work in the future, but sadly it is something that you need to confront. If your child is already in high school, it implies they are either coming into the workforce in maybe four years or less, or if they are going to go to college after high school then you need to consider what they’ll be doing in about eight years from now. Steering your child toward a job as a switchboard operator would obviously not be prudent. I say that in jest, but also with some seriousness in that you’d want to identify whether a seemingly existing occupation will really be in existence at least four to eight years from now (notably, there were some people that were still getting trained to be switchboard operators, right up to and during the time that those jobs faded out).

Predicting future jobs is somewhat chancy. There are jobs that might appear or might not arise. There are jobs that might appear but perhaps at a later date than you predicted. There are jobs that will appear and require a very specific set of skills and capabilities. There are jobs that will grow and be plentiful, and other new jobs that will be very narrow, and few will be able to get those jobs. Jobs, jobs, jobs.

So, anyway, suppose we look ahead to the 2020’s and the 2030’s and try to predict what kinds of jobs might appear. The ones in the 2020’s isn’t that far away in time, and so we’re then trying to use a crystal ball to see maybe five to 10 years from now to the mid-2020’s and late-2020’s. The ones in the mid-2030’s is a bit chancier since that’s around 15+ years from now, and there can be all sorts of other wild changes that could happen in our world that might shape future jobs.

I’ll begin with jobs that various futurists have been predicting will appear in that time frame of the 2020’s and the 2030’s. These are jobs that I am merely relaying to you and will presumably begin to appear, per the futurist predictions. You can be the judge of whether these jobs seem to make sense or not. They range quite a bit in terms of the nature of the job tasks, the opportunities that each portends, etc.

Here are a few of the predicted near-future new jobs:

  •         Personal Microbiome Specialist

It is said that our bodies have all sorts of bacteria that can impact how we feel and what our health consists of. Some believe that you can harness the bacteria for purposes of overcoming chronic fatigue, or to combat being overweight, and so on. A personal microbiome specialist would work with you and your physician to devise a plan of how to best deal with your personal bacteria. Likely requires a biology degree and potential certification in some medical or health related fields.

  •         Pharmaceutical Artisan

Legal drugs can potentially be designed for you that would be based on your genetics and other characteristics. Some say that this would be part-science and part-artistry in terms of crafting a drug combination just right for you, and it might involve examining your stem cells. This job of being a pharmaceutical artisan likely would have hefty licensing and medical training requirements.

  •         Memorializer

The Baby Boomers are gradually getting older and as end-of-life approaches they are presumably going to increasingly want some kind of elaborate preservation of their lives. Right now, senior citizens that had put up Facebook pages and Instagram pages that are now no longer with us aren’t around anymore to do anything about those pages. A memorializer would help make arrangements to continue tributes to your life and accomplishments after you are gone.

  •         Organizational Disrupter

I’m sure that many of you might either want this job or believe you currently have this job. Futurists are saying that companies are at times becoming complacent and they are no longer innovating like they used to do. This could be the death knell for such companies. This new job of being an organizational disrupter involves shaking up a firm from within, fostering risk-taking and being innovative. Good luck getting one of those jobs!

 You might notice that these jobs are predicated on either advances in science or changes in society. Various advancements in the areas of the sciences, engineering, and technology are often likely to generate new jobs. Too, trends in society such as aging or firm complacency, can be the fostering agent for the emergence of new jobs.

Indeed, there’s something coming up in the likely 2020’s and 2030’s that is also sparked by advances in science, engineering, and technology, and that is anticipated will have a significant impact on society, our economy, and most of what we do.

It’s the advent of AI self-driving cars.

At the Cybernetic AI Self-Driving Car Institute, we are developing AI systems for self-driving cars. We also keep track of major trends related to self-driving cars, along with making predictions about the future of AI self-driving cars, which at times includes debunking industry pundit claims.

For an overview about the AI self-driving cars field, see my article: https://aitrends.com/selfdrivingcars/self-driving-car-mother-ai-projects-moonshot/

For my framework about AI self-driving cars, see: https://aitrends.com/selfdrivingcars/framework-ai-self-driving-driverless-cars-big-picture/

Certain Jobs Seen Disappearing as AI Self-Driving Cars Proliferate

There has already been a lot of attention paid toward the job destruction that will occur as a result of the advent of AI self-driving cars. If the AI works as hoped for by AI specialists and the auto makers, there will ultimately be no need for human drivers per se. There are an estimated 3,500,000 truck drivers in the United States alone, all of which could presumably be replaced by AI. There are an estimated 200,000 taxi drivers in the U.S., all of which could presumably be replaced by AI. There are about 2 million Uber registered drivers, and they would presumably no longer have much chance at making money as a human driver.

Keep in mind though that there is a common myth that somehow overnight we’re going to be switching from human driver vehicles to AI driven vehicles. This doesn’t make any sense.

There are an estimated 200+ million conventional cars in the United States and by-and-large those aren’t going to be retrofitted to become AI self-driving cars. Instead, you’ll need to buy a new car that is an AI self-driving car. People are not going to readily give up and discard their conventional cars for AI self-driving cars. People might not be able to readily afford an AI self-driving car, at first, though I’ve also mentioned many times that there are other ways in which affordability might occur.

For my article about kits and AI self-driving cars, see: https://aitrends.com/selfdrivingcars/kits-and-ai-self-driving-cars/

For my article about the affordability of AI self-driving cars, see: https://aitrends.com/selfdrivingcars/affordability-of-ai-self-driving-cars/

For the levels of AI self-driving cars, see: https://aitrends.com/selfdrivingcars/richter-scale-levels-self-driving-cars/

Another aspect to keep in mind is that there are various levels of AI self-driving cars. The topmost level, which is Level 5, consists of an AI self-driving car that has no human driver involved. Indeed, the Level 5 self-driving cars are being designed to omit any brake and gas pedal, and nor would there be a steering wheel. On the other hand, the self-driving cars less than a Level 5 are still considered human driven cars. The human driver is co-sharing the driving task with the AI. There must be a human driver present in the car and the human driver is considered responsible for the actions of the self-driving car.

This is important to be aware of, due to the aspect that we’ll more than likely have a range of levels of self-driving cars, and which will be a mix for many years to come. In other words, there will be some mix of conventional cars, some amount of less than Level 5 self-driving cars, and some true Level 5 self-driving cars. This mix will gradually inexorably move toward a dominance of the Level 5, but this will take years if not decades to play out.

With all the concern raised about the job losses due to AI self-driving cars, which is certainly worthy of considering and planning for, and I don’t want to downplay it, but I also don’t want those that seem to decry it as happening overnight to cause a false outcry, we might also consider looking a the potential of job creation due to AI self-driving cars.

It is already asserted that the advent of true AI self-driving cars will aid the shift of society towards mobility, and we’re going to have a mobility-as-a-service society. This translates partially into the notion that we’ll have ridesharing aplenty. You’ll be able to shake a stick and voila a ridesharing car will appear. This is predicted too as a result of the AI self-driving cars being able to be used 24×7, and while you are at work your AI self-driving car will be making money doing ridesharing.

For the use of non-stop AI self-driving cars, see my article: https://aitrends.com/selfdrivingcars/non-stop-ai-self-driving-cars-truths-and-consequences/

For the ridesharing impacts, see my article: https://aitrends.com/selfdrivingcars/ridesharing-services-and-ai-self-driving-cars-notably-uber-in-or-uber-out/

What kinds of jobs might emerge as a result of the advent of true AI self-driving cars?

Let’s look into my crystal ball and see what it says (these are my predictions, right or wrong, sensible or not).

I list next some of the potentially emerging new jobs, along with an indication of the pay aspects, the skill requirements, the social skills needed, and opportunity in terms of volume of such jobs, and the career progression possibilities. I’ll use a scheme of low, middle, and high for each of those job-related parameters.

These are the job parameters and their potential scoring:

  •         Pay: Low, Middle, High
  •         Technical Skill Requirements: Low, Middle, High
  •         Social Skill Requirements: Low, Middle, High
  •         Opportunity: Low, Middle, High
  •         Career Progression: Low, Middle, High

I’ll number them for ease of reference and discussion, but it does not denote any kind of prioritization or importance factor.

And New Jobs Seen Being Created after Advent of AI Self-Driving Cars

With all of that introductory contextual setting, here now are the new near-term future jobs as it pertains to AI self-driving cars:

  1.  Self-Driving Car Chaperone

Pay: Low

Technical Skills: Low

Social Skills: Medium/High

Opportunity: High

Career Progression: Low

A true Level 5 self-driving car will be able to take your children to school, or to the baseball field, or wherever you want them to go. But, this also creates a potential issue that you’ll have a car being driven by AI that has no adults in the car, and the children will be in a moving car without any adult supervision or assistance. I’ve written and spoken at many industry events that this is going to create new kinds of issues for us as a society.

Will the children that are unattended by an adult be locked into the self-driving car so that they cannot get out? You might say that of course you don’t want the children to be able to get out of the car. Suppose though there is a need for the child to get out of the self-driving car, such as there’s an emergency and the child needs to escape from the car. How will this be handled?

See my article about conversing with the AI of a self-driving car: https://aitrends.com/features/socio-behavioral-computing-for-ai-self-driving-cars/

I realize that some say that an adult could electronically communicate with the AI of the self-driving car and be able to tell it when to unlock the doors. This presumes though that there is perfect electronic communication connections and makes other such assumptions that in the real-world are not likely to bear out, at least not all of the time.

As such, one new job would be that of a self-driving car chaperone.

This is a human being, presumably an adult, whom would ride in an AI self-driving car to accompany children and be there to help them as needed. Notice that the human does not need to know how to drive the car and does not need a driver’s license. I mention this aspect because today’s ridesharing services in essence do somewhat of the same service in that you have an adult driver that can “supervise” your children, but this also means that the human must be able to drive a car. That’s not needed for an AI self-driving car.

Some might refer to this person as a nanny, or an au pair, or something like that. I’ve tended towards using the word “chaperone” since it is a word that we tend to think of as being more transitory. A nanny is someone you usually hire for an extended period of time. A chaperone you tend to think of someone hired for a particular event or situation.

There might be ridesharing services that offer AI self-driving cars and for an added fee you can have a self-driving car chaperone in the car for the journey. These would presumably be carefully screened to make sure it is appropriate that they are with children, alone, in a car.

An added kind of protection, as it were, involves that the AI self-driving car is likely to have inward facing cameras and microphones, which would allow for the recording of whatever happens while inside the AI self-driving car. Furthermore, you could be at work, connect to the AI self-driving car via your smartphone, and watch as the self-driving car takes your kids to school, along with seeing and hearing how the chaperone interacts with your children.

Undoubtedly, there would be Yelp-like ratings of the chaperones. And, rather than getting one randomly assigned to your ridesharing request, you’d likely be able to request a specific person. Thus, maybe each morning an AI self-driving car comes to your house, the chaperone you’ve grown to like is in the self-driving car, the kids pile into the self-driving car, and they head to school. Meanwhile, the chaperone now knows your children and the familiarity makes it easier for the children to feel comfortable about being in the AI self-driving car.

This would be a relatively low paying job and requires no technical skills. A modicum of social skills would presumably be needed. The number of such jobs could become enormous, rising as the advent of AI self-driving cars increases in popularity.

  1. Self-Driving Car Consort

Pay: Low

Technical Skills: Low

Social Skills: Medium/High

Opportunity: Medium

Career Progression: Low/Medium

It is predicted that the elderly are going to become much more mobile due to emergence of AI self-driving cars. They’ll be able to go where they want, when they want. This though doesn’t quite provide the so-called “last mile” problem, which involves the elderly getting into the AI self-driving car and out of the AI self-driving car. Yes, there might be someone at the origination and destination to help, when needed, but this is not necessarily going to be the case. As such, it might be handy to have someone that goes along in the AI self-driving car to help out.

See my article about the elderly and AI self-driving cars: https://aitrends.com/ethics-and-social-issues/elderly-boon-bust-self-driving-cars/

This also aids with the circumstance of someone that has a health-related problem arise while in an AI self-driving car, while on some kind of driving journey. If there’s no human accompanying the person, and they suddenly have a heart attack, how would the AI know and what could the AI do to immediately aid the person? With another person in the AI self-driving car, they could render immediate aid, if needed.

Another potential use for a human in the AI self-driving car might be due to a delivery being made. If you order a pizza, and an AI self-driving car brings it to you, there’s once again the “last mile” problem of getting the pizza from the car and up to your door. I realize that some are saying that the human that ordered the pizza will need to come out to the self-driving car, but if you’ve been partying or are in your PJs, this idea of having to come out the street to grab a pizza from the self-driving car is not going to go over very well. Thus, there might be reasons to have a human delivery person in the AI self-driving car. This can be for pizza delivery, it can be for groceries delivery, you name it.

For the moment, I’m referring to this job title as a “consort” which is not entirely satisfying, and I am hoping another word will arise for this role. You could use the word “companion” but I’m not sure it fits well either. I don’t think we want to use the word “escort” since it has another connotations.

You might argue that the chaperone position is similar to this one. I’ve purposely carved out the chaperone as a role devoted to riding in a self-driving car when there are children involved. I believe it would be prudent to make this into its own specialty. The consort is a much wider variety of circumstances. Another example of the consort would be someone that’s a local tourist guide and goes with you to show you various local notable locations. And so on.

  1.  Self-Driving Car Auto Shop Technician

Pay: Medium

Technical Skills: Medium/High

Social Skills: Low

Opportunity: Medium

Career Progression: Medium

AI self-driving cars are going to be chock full of specialized sensors, computer processors, and other devices that are there for purposes of making a car become an AI self-driving car. There is complicated software involved too.

This will require a specialized technician at the auto shop that is going to be doing maintenance and repairs on self-driving cars. They’ll need advanced training for this.

I realize that some pundits live in a dream world wherein AI self-driving cars never break down. It is unfathomable that anyone would think that an AI self-driving car is infallible. I assure you that it is going to breakdown. They will be in accidents. Parts will go bad. Recalls will be needed. It’s a car, darn it, it’s a car.

For my article about AI self-driving car recalls, see: https://aitrends.com/selfdrivingcars/auto-recalls/

For getting AI self-driving cars to the repair shop, see my article:  https://aitrends.com/selfdrivingcars/non-stop-ai-self-driving-cars-truths-and-consequences/

Here’s how self-driving cars will run when parts are busted, see my article:  https://aitrends.com/ai-insider/graceful-degradation-system-handling-self-driving-cars/

My article about AI self-driving cars getting into accidents provides some handy insights on this topic: https://aitrends.com/selfdrivingcars/accidents-happen-self-driving-cars/

  1. Self-Driving Car Financier

Pay: Medium/High

Technical Skills: Medium

Social Skills: Medium/High

Opportunity: Medium

Career Progression: Medium/High

AI self-driving cars will likely spawn thousands upon thousands of new small businesses. I say this because I’ve already predicted that to afford an AI self-driving car you’ll likely turn it into a money making ridesharing service. If you do that, you likely will want to form a small business to be able to then deduct the costs of keeping up the AI self-driving car. There are lots of handy tax reasons to do so.

A cottage industry will form of those helping the naïve buyer of an AI self-driving car into becoming savvy about how to setup a business and do the financing involved. I’m calling this the self-driving car financier, which is kind of a fancy name for the role. If anyone has something that is better suited as a title, I welcome morphing the title. Maybe “Self-Driving Car Startup Adviser” is one such example, but it doesn’t role off-the-tongue as does the simpler “Financier” does.

See my article about the affordability of AI self-driving cars and the startups it will generate: https://aitrends.com/selfdrivingcars/affordability-of-ai-self-driving-cars/

  1. Self-Driving Car AI Add-on Developer

Pay: High

Technical Skills: Medium/High

Social Skills: Low/Medium

Opportunity: High

Career Progression: High

AI self-driving cars are going to emerge and then become one of the biggest add-on markets that you’ve ever seen. The auto makers and tech firms are doing their best right now to just get the fundamental platform out into the marketplace and working. There are lots of “edge” problems that they are forsaking right now, doing so to concentrate on the core aspects.

I’ve predicted in my writing and at my industry presentations that once these platforms actually exist, there will be a blossoming of an add-on market. This won’t be quite so easy though, because you are talking about adding onto a car which has the potential for huge safety considerations.

Developers that learn how to cope with the idiosyncrasies of particular brands of self-driving cars will be able to become specialized for that aspect. They can either be hired-on to develop add-on’s on the behalf of a larger tech or auto firm, or they can make add-on’s that they try to bring to the market themselves.

Right now, the size of the AI developers market for the existing auto makers and tech firms is relatively small and confined to pretty much those already known or in-the-know. Once the platform exists, there will be grand opening to developers of all kinds and capabilities. Not going to happen overnight, but it will emerge with solid job prospects.

For API’s and self-driving cars, see my article: https://aitrends.com/selfdrivingcars/apis-and-ai-self-driving-cars/

For IoT opportunities and AI self-driving cars, see my article: https://aitrends.com/selfdrivingcars/internet-of-things-iot-and-ai-self-driving-cars/

For how “citizen AI” will impact AI self-driving cars, see my article: https://aitrends.com/selfdrivingcars/citizen-ai-for-ai-self-driving-cars/

For edge problems and AI self-driving cars, see my article: https://aitrends.com/ai-insider/edge-problems-core-true-self-driving-cars-achieving-last-mile/

For computer security aspects and AI self-driving cars, see my article: https://aitrends.com/ai-insider/ai-deep-learning-backdoor-security-holes-self-driving-cars-detection-prevention/


There are going to be future jobs associated with the advent of AI self-driving cars. These will be new jobs that don’t exist today per se. Economists and others are still pondering whether the job destruction impacts of AI self-driving cars will be greater than or the same or less than the job creation impacts. It’s an ongoing debate. So far, the job destruction appears larger. But, we’ve not yet begun to experience the ways in which AI self-driving cars might change our society.

Note that I’ve not focused herein on the new jobs outside of the realm of AI self-driving cars that might arise indirectly due to the AI self-driving car. I’m sure there will be many.

For the moment, I’ve provided a glimpse into my crystal ball about new jobs that are directly as a result of AI self-driving cars. If you plan on working in the 2020’s and 2030’s, and if any of these new jobs look of interest to you or someone you know, maybe time to start planning and get a head start on being ready to step into those jobs. Happy job hunting!

Copyright 2018 Dr. Lance Eliot

This content is originally posted on AI Trends.