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Posted: November 13, 2013

More on the coming era of super-employment

The rest of the 24 all-important job creators

Thomas Frey

(Editor's note: This is the second of two parts. Read Part One.)

Here are the rest of the 24 emerging and rapid growth industries that will be employing millions of people in the coming years.

7.) Cancer Immunotherapy – Immunotherapy will train your immune system to attack cancer cells, giving it an advantage over traditional cancer therapies like chemo, which can kill healthy cells, and “targeted” therapy, against which cancer cells often develop resistance. Tumor response rates are usually in the mid-20 percent range but can get up to 50 percent with immunotherapy. The market potential is projected to be $10-15 billion by 2025, with lung cancer being the primary focus.

8.) LEDs – Industrial-scale light emitting diodes (LEDs) enjoy three main advantages over regular light sources: energy savings of up to 85 percent, a longer lifetime, and being more easily programmable. LED sales will reach $11 billion by 2015, and will see a compound annual growth rate of about 40 percent over the next five years in the industrial and commercial market. From a lighting perspective its expected to represent 36 percent of lumen-hour sales on the general illumination market by 2020, and 74 percent by 2030

9.) Big Data – Social media, blogs, web browsing, and firms’ security measures are generating enormous quantities of data, and it needs to be stored somewhere. The overall market currently stands at $11 billion, with a projected 32 percent compound annual growth rate over the next five years. According to McKinsey and Company, “the United States alone will face a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with analytical expertise and 1.5 million managers and analysts with the skills to understand and make decisions based on the analysis of big data.” 

10.) Internet of Things – Seventy-five billion is the number of devices that Morgan Stanley has calculated will be connected to the Internet of Things by 2020. That’s 9.4 devices for every one of the 8 billion people that will be on earth in only seven years. IBM even created a starter kit to help people get started.  

11.) Natural Gas – Compressed and liquefied natural gas is increasingly being used in industrial and commercial fleets. So far penetration remains relatively confined to about 3 percent of all vehicles However, by 2020 natural gas engines will comprise 10-15 percent of total truck sales, for a penetration rate of 20-30 percent of our over-the-road hauling fleets And that’s only part of the story

12.) Wind Power – Wind energy today still only accounts for a small percentage of global electricity production even though we have seen many more wind farms popping up over the last few years. Wind power currently generates 2.6 percent of the world’s electricity, but according to a new report from the International Energy Agency, that number will grow significantly over the next few decades.

13.) Solar Power – Solar PV was invented nearly 60 years ago and has been growing ever since. As an industry it now employs nearly 120,000 Americans. Driven by both state and national incentives, dropping prices, and a constant stream of new innovations, solar is hot, and it will become even hotter in the future.

14.) Mass Energy Storage – We are now entering the early growth stages of what will surely become ahuge global industry – energy storage. It will both support and compete with conventional generation, transmission and distribution systems. Over the coming decade as the industry evolves, it will lead to new business models and the creation of new companies that make, apply and operate storage assets to help the grid work more reliably and cost-effectively, while decreasing unwanted environmental impacts. Full report here

15.) Micro Grid Conversion – Along with massive new power storage systems, the electric utilities world is about to begin the transition from national grids to micro grids. This will open up a huge number of opportunities along the way. First, micro grids will need to be planned, set up, and prove they’re self-sufficient and sustainable. Second, micro grids will begin disconnecting from the national grid. And third, we will begin dismantling the national grid, a multi-decade process creating tens of thousands of jobs along the way.

16.) Hyperspeed Transportation Systems – With its ability to travel upwards of 4,000 mph, ET3 founder Daryl Oster calls it, “space travel on earth,” but it also has the potential to be the world’s largest infrastructure project. Vacuum tube transport is not just a great idea; it’s becoming a moral imperative. Ships and planes are polluting our oceans and skies faster than nature can clean it up. This is a solution that will not only solve all those problems; it will create over 100 million jobs along the way. And, most importantly, it will pay for itself.

17.) Contour Crafted Houses – Many people think of contour crafting as 3D printing for houses, but Professor Behrokh Khoshnevis from the University of South California sees it as much more. In addition to it’s ability to print an entire house in less than a day, it can be used to eliminate slums, help rebuild areas after a natural disasters, and even build large buildings and luxury homes with custom architectural features that can be changed with only a few clicks of a mouse.

18.) Driverless Everything – Our dependence on cars has been growing. In 1960, about 41 million workers commuted by private automobile. But by 2009, that number has grown to a whopping 120 million. The average time spent driving each day, roughly one hour, is rarely productive since we’re closely focused on driving and little else. Four companies — Audi, Mercedes, BMW and Volvo — will have automated cars in the market in the next 12 months. Over time this will expand far beyond cars to trucks, buses, taxis, limos, and every conceivable form of delivery vehicle. Driverless cars will be every bit as disruptive as the invention of the automobile itself. 

19.) Bio-Factories – Based on using living systems, “bio-factories” represent a new process for creating substances that are either too tricky or too expensive to grow in nature or to make with petrochemicals. The rush to develop bio-factories as a means for production not only promises to revolutionize the chemical industry but also transform the economy. Hundreds of products are already in the pipeline.

20.) Micro-Colleges – The systems used to create colleges centuries ago seems justifiably primitive by today’s standards. Learning formulas for nearly every degree are based on hours, one of the least important considerations when it comes to assessing talent. Colleges today cost far too much, and they take far too long. Micro-Colleges are any form of concentrated post-secondary education oriented around the minimum entry point into a particular profession. With literally millions of people needing to shift careers every year, and the long drawn out cycles of traditional colleges being a poor solution for time-crunched rank-and-file displaced workers, we are seeing a massive new opportunity arising for short-term, pre-apprenticeship training.

21.) Smart Homes – The programmable home is still in its early stages but it’s gathering strength, driven by three complementary trends: first and foremost, the smartphone revolution; second, improved standards for low-power, inexpensive and highly reliable wireless communications; and finally, ever-decreasing barriers to invention due to increased automation of manufacturing technologies. These three forces are converging to create a tipping point that will lead to mass penetration of connected devices in homes during the next ten years.

22.) Senior Living – With almost 10,000 Americans turning 65 each day, the number of seniors who need specialized housing will only increase the need for more options and better solutions. A recent study by HUD concluded there are over 1 million seniors currently fall within the guidelines for “worst case housing needs” and increasingly more seniors are falling below the poverty level. Most affordable senior apartments have long waiting lists and new inventory in this category is not being created nearly fast enough to keep pace with demand.

23.) Home Delivery – The same-day delivery space is getting pretty crowded. Amazon, Google, and eBay offer local, same-day deliver services (in limited markets), as do startups like PostMates, Deliv, TaskRabbit and WunWun. As same-day delivery shifts from a premium price to the same price as standard, demand will increase, volume will increase and costs will come down even further. But here’s the twist: Retailers who have retained their national chain of stores and built a web/mobile presence are actually in the box seats. Stores like Sears and Wal-Mart that already have locations within five miles of 95 percent of the buying public with their brick and mortar stores will have a huge advantage.

24.) 24-Hour Cities – As we continue down the path of automation, virtually every city will have 24-hour convenience stores, 24-hour libraries, 24-hour banks, 24-hour churches, 24-hour schools, 24-hour movie theaters, 24-hour bars and restaurants, and even 24-hour shopping centers. The same machines that will be replacing retail workers will also be creating new jobs for 24-hour business operations.

Final Thoughts

The list above is just scratching the surface. When we automate jobs out of existence, that doesn’t mean there is no work left to do. We are freeing up human capital, and this human capital can be put to work creating thousands of new industries. It will, however, require a whole new level of system thinking to unleash this pent-up ambition.Tomorrow’s history books will show us that we are immersed in patterns that are meant to be broken, based on cycles waiting to be transformed.

But I’d love to hear your thoughts on this and other future industries. What have I missed and how do we go about unlocking their true potential faster?

Thomas Frey is the executive director and senior futurist at the DaVinci Institute and currently Google’s top-rated futurist speaker.  At the Institute, he has developed original research studies, enabling him to speak on unusual topics, translating trends into unique opportunities. Tom continually pushes the envelope of understanding, creating fascinating images of the world to come.  His talks on futurist topics have captivated people ranging from high level of government officials to executives in Fortune 500 companies including NASA, IBM, AT&T, Hewlett-Packard, Unilever, GE, Blackmont Capital, Lucent Technologies, First Data, Boeing, Ford Motor Company, Qwest, Allied Signal, Hunter Douglas, Direct TV, Capital One, National Association of Federal Credit Unions, STAMATS, Bell Canada, American Chemical Society, Times of India, Leaders in Dubai, and many more. Before launching the DaVinci Institute, Tom spent 15 years at IBM as an engineer and designer where he received over 270 awards, more than any other IBM engineer.

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Readers Respond

As general trends, I can see the potentials in those ideas. What about other technologies and areas of opportunity? Such as nuclear energy for very small electricity sources, feeding a neighborhood or an industrial facility? Any ideas on environmental concerns and sustainability via processes for recycling and cleaning? Water is available, but not clean or pure enough, due to the necessary distribution systems already in place. Food growth, processing and distribution needs improvements and growth. Trash cannot be forever placed in landfills. Finally, there are other technologies in the works, some presented in the Sci Channel in cable. Any thoughts on when all that will happen? Cheers --Alex. By Alex Laguna on 2013 11 22
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