We asked a futurist to think about the future of work. You already see a lot of change in this space — we’ve gone from most people working full time for companies that provide benefits to more of a world of free agents — working for more than one employer — and having the freedom to work for whoever they like, whenever they like, wherever they like. The future will trend even further. Here’s one idea: Imagine never having to look for your next gig again.
Right now, you probably spend a good chunk of your time doing things you don’t want to do — just to have enough free time to do the things that you want to do. One of the cool facts about the future of work is that most of the little time-wasting stuff you have to do every day will be gone. Life would be easier.
To pitch or not to pitch?
If you’re independent, not only do you have to get your work done, but you also have to keep looking to the horizon for more work to do. That takes time — do you work, or do you pitch yourself? Both, if you want to keep working. Looking for work sucks — you just want to CODE. But you have to sell yourself as well; otherwise, you may not get the next gig until it’s too late.
You have to crank out work for your current projects, then spend time trolling sites for more gigs. Sure, some of those sites will send you gigs, but are they what you want to do next? Will it be work that genuinely interests you? One reason you don’t work as a cog in the machine for a faceless giant corporation is that you get to do the work you want to do, not just the work that puts food on the table.
Ideally, you need a virtual human assistant as your salesperson — understanding what you can do and what you want to do. They need to know your skill set, what you can do now, and what you want to stretch to do. Things that will challenge you AND make you happy.
Humans, however, take time to teach, and you have to pay them a lot. You probably can’t afford to have an excellent human virtual assistant, but you can have the next best thing — your Army of Mini-Me Bots, coming soon from a marketplace near you.
An Army Of Mini-Mes
All you need to do is to sign up. The rest is done for you. Now just live your life and do your job like usual. The system will capture everything that you do and say to build your virtual twin, a “mini-me” version of you (or maybe a lot of mini-mes, each focused on one aspect of your life — a worker-bee mini-me and a dating mini-me, a partygoing mini-me and a texting-with-my-boring-friends mini-me).
All of your collected data would be securely stored in a private blockchain only you and your Bots will be able to access. You can go in there and edit what it thought you wanted so it can get a better picture of you. You can add your preferences on the top of the preferences it’s determined you already like.
Your “worker-bee mini-me” will focus on your career. It will nail down your current skills and future interests and look for work on your behalf, re-writing and submitting your resume for gigs, applying at gig sites, and more — all automatically on your behalf without you having to lift a finger. Your Bots will regularly get refreshed with new information based on the stuff you like.
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Your Bots are AI that only works for you instead of Apple, Amazon, or Google. Imagine something with the power of a thousand Siris and Alexas, watching over your every move and not just waiting for a wake word from you to act, but proactively acting on your behalf whenever it will help you progress towards your goals — no more schmoozing, networking, or looking for work.
“Is it safe?” you might ask. Well, it depends. Robots and AI are great when things go smoothly. But if things go south due to reasons neither of the parties can control, personal data is exposed. And that can be a huge threat! Therefore, it is wise to look for a combination of cutting-edge technology and caring hands and human touch to protect your data and keep the flow under control.
How far away is all of this? Not as far as you think. In fact, vetted freelance platforms like Lemon.io are already coming in handy. They take the burden of searching for the next client off the developer’s shoulders. Freelancers simply have to provide all the necessary information – and the team will search for projects that best match freelancer’s expertise and interests. Like a magic black box where real magic happens with little to no effort from a freelancer.
By the time the “Mini-me” freelance sites take charge, non-vetted giants will be long gone. They simply won’t live to see the robot era. More and more freelancers step away from them already and move straight into platforms like Lemon.io with a close screening process both for developers and customers.
Big tech is already watching everything that you do to feed you news and ads. Without much additional work, we should be able to build Bots that work for you — to help you get more work and live a better life, instead of feeding you bubbles of information.
If you didn’t know what was going on, you might think that you were suddenly getting lucky all the time. Primo gigs would fall in your lap, precisely the kind of work you always wanted to do — with literally no effort.
Would you sign up for this?
kalaboukis, the optimistic futurist™, is a future designer, disruptive innovator, prolific inventor, artificer, and activist. He is the founder of hellofuture, a global foresight, design & strategy consultancy specializing in developing new products, services, patents, and strategies for financial services, technology, media, and retail/e-commerce companies. He is also named inventor on 122 patents and cited on 1181 patents in the internet, social networking, and fintech space. A serial entrepreneur, he has helmed several startups from inception to launch. He has authored several books on innovation and the future and blogs and podcasts at thinkfuture.com