New jobs in future

February 07, 2022 09:10
Photo: Reuters

By combining virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and extended reality (XR) to integrate the virtual environment and real world, everyone can have an avatar, a virtual twin of oneself. These are the basic elements of the “metaverse”. Many companies which are considered not technology-based, such as Gucci and Coca-Cola, have recently set foot in the metaverse. It is expected that metaverse would become popular in 10-15 years’ time, and many new types of discipline and jobs would be generated. Apart from digital fashion designers who dress up virtual avatars, there are other new professions as follows:

• Metahuman Doctor
All of our biometric and physiological data will be digitised and contained in our metahuman avatars, thanks to inserted nanotech sensors, these data would be updated in real-time. This allows metadoctors to diagnose and run tests of different treatments to find the best options for our real bodies.

• Smart Contract Lawyer
To conduct transactions in the metaverse, people need a consultant, a Smart Contract Lawyer. This professional will ensure that the terms of your agreement are perfectly encoded for confidentiality and stored in the blockchain, and the cryptocurrency, asset transactions and related royalties are also protected.

• Data Bounty Hunter
If data is the energy that drives the metaverse, personal data is the most precious part of it. By then, sensors will be everywhere, and the metaverse platform will record more user information than any current social media.

How can individuals control their data scattered across different websites, organisations and governments? A new service would emerge to search for your data to ensure that you have access and ownership of all your data. These companies have expertise in personal privacy regulations in different places and are able to manage personal data. They are also strong in data mining in order to track your data like a Data Bounty Hunter.

At the same time, the risk of data theft will be more severe than today. It will be a big challenge for companies to ensure protection of users’ privacy and to prevent the dissemination and manipulation of false information. This makes the jobs related to information verification a popular choice of profession.

• Psychologists
This profession is very important no matter in the metaverse or in the real world.
The popularity of social media has not eased the problem of interpersonal alienation, although our images in the virtual world look beautiful. We still have to face the real problems in school, work, family, relationship, finance, and more. How to balance the virtual and real world can be troubling, especially for young people born in the digital world. Last year, the Boston Children’s Hospital in the U.S. launched a Digital Wellness Lab which is to study the effects of digital technology on our brains, bodies, and behaviours, so as to propose feasible solutions based on scientific evidence.

Except for the traditional profession of psychologists in the real world, all the jobs mentioned above require mastering digital skills by which writing computer programs (coding) is almost a must. Therefore, I must urge the authorities once again to include coding in the regular curriculum of primary and secondary education in Hong Kong, allowing young people to equip themselves for the future.

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Adjunct Professor, Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Engineering; Department of Geography, Faculty of Social Sciences; and Faculty of Architecture, The University of Hong Kong