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My Dear Future Child,

It’s me, your mother. I hope you are enjoying reading this on the insides of your eyelids as directly projected into your mind by AlphaBook while you sleep. I know the last vegetables died out many years ago, but hopefully you are drinking your People (Soylent was never going to take off as a name, was it?) to get all your nutrients (so convenient!).

I’m writing to you here from 2020 where I’m hoping this future career advice will have been helpful. From where you are now you might not remember a time when people had jobs. Perhaps the utopia came, and everyone was paid a universal basic income and you were able to pursue only your passions and dreams and you are living on an island weaving baskets and teaching yourself twelve languages. Though it’s equally likely there are no islands left, so please at least move your basket-weaving concern to higher ground, if there is any available.

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If the End of Work did not come, then this is my hope for you: that this advice on potential career paths will be in some way useful, should anything have happened to me by the time you finish high school. As I write this I am leaving on an expedition to the Arctic to measure a new crack in the ice shelf. I can’t imagine that anything will go wrong. However, as all career women of my generation were told to, I’ve had my eggs frozen at great expense. So no matter what happens, just know that you are very loved. How you were conceived and who gave birth to you are really just particulars.

Now, career advice!

Coder/programmer/developer

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This is a very bad area to enter right now. Programmers managed to create a program smart enough to program itself, doing away in one fell swoop with millions of jobs. Though the woman who wrote that one program is very rich, and good for her. Wish it could have been you, darling!

Investment banker

This was once a sure-fire way to become exceedingly wealthy, and had you been of a certain kind of ruthless disposition, I might have suggested this to you as a job option. However, the blockchain made all jobs in every area of finance redundant. You can’t argue with math.

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Lawyer

Unfortunately lawyers were also replaced by software in the form of smart contracts in 2019. You can’t argue with math, even if it’s your job to argue.

Journalist

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The practice of journalism was outlawed in 2018. This was back before the advent of smart contracts adjudicating everything on the blockchain, back when human judges made decisions and whichever billionaire had the most money won.

Billionaire

All the billionaires left Earth in 2020 and now live on Mars, but I guess you’re welcome to try and join them, if you can find a well-enough paying job.

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Astronaut

Sadly, astronauts no longer exist as all government-funded space programs were bought out by private companies and space tourism is the only way that anyone can get into space now—which isn’t cheap! Honestly I would have been very stressed at the thought of you going into space anyway, the likelihood of dying horribly is far too high.

Chauffer

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No, honey. There are only robot cars now.

Car manufacturer

Again, no. Robots also make the cars.

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Robot

Very difficult for a human to ever imitate a robot as well as a robot can imitate a robot, but there was always a strong gift for acting in the family, so anything is possible!

Actor

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Turns out rendering a precisely life-like hologram projection of anyone who has ever lived was not that hard thanks to endlessly self-improving computer programs, so no.

Fast food worker

No one eats solid food anymore, but even if they did, service industry jobs were all automated in 2017.

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Philosopher

No one ever made money in this field, ever, so just as attractive as always, but there are more things to contemplate than ever before, with all the spare time.

I love you, and if I'm no longer around in person, I do hope you were able to download my consciousness from Google's servers.

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Mum.

Elmo is a writer with Real Future.