Happy New Year everyone! As we begin a new year and a new decade there will be a lot of reflection over how far we have come with technology, not only in the last year but also with how futuristic technology depicted on TV and in the movies has become reality. Since it is New Years a piece of technology theorized over 20 years ago may be about to become reality, the career chip from Futurama.

New Years Eve 1999

20 years ago pizza delivery boy Philip J. Fry was called to deliver a pizza to Applied Cryogenics only to find no one there. Since no one was there Fry decided to eat some of the pizza and drink one of the beers as the countdown to the year 2000 began, only to lose his balance (thanks to Nibbler) and fall into an open and waiting cryogenic tube. He would awaken a thousand years later so he could fulfill his destiny and defeat the Brain Spawn.

Since Fry was still young (and his destiny had not yet been revealed) in the year 3000 he would need to have a job. A computer program was used to determine what his job would be and he would be implanted with a chip that would tie him to that job. The computer wound up determining that Fry would be best suited to being a delivery boy. When his Fate Assignment Officer Leela tried to implant him with the chip he fled to try and find his long lost descendant Professor Hubert Farnsworth.  Along the way meets his soon-to-be best friend Bender. That last part is irrelevant to this, I just wanted to mention Bender.

Let AI Find Your Career Path

A career chip and AI determining that career may seem far off but it may not be. We have often wondered what our ideal career path is. Some people have been fortunate enough to find it but many have not been able to. In the world of Futurama a computer decided it for you. Here in the real world, a computer may be about to determine it for us as well.

Researchers in Australia found that different professions attract people of different characteristics in a study released right before Christmas. That may seem like a common sense conclusion as career advisers have always tried to match jobs to your strengths or your personality, in many cases unsuccessfully. It can be a daunting task as careers that were common only a decade or two ago no longer exist, so adapting to an ever changing labor market will be very important.

Data From Social Media Profiles

Over 128,000 Twitter profiles were used by the researchers encompassing 3,513 different job titles listed in their profile. Then IBM’s Watson AI gave each profile a score based off of the language used in the posts as well as their online behavior to determine personality and create a vocational compass map. When the analysis was over it was found that different occupations have different personality profiles which should not be surprising but that many of the people in similar career paths had similar personality profiles. It was also found that similar personality profiles could fit seemingly different professions. 

Something like this could have a major impact on the labor market. For many people that are entering the labor market for the first time this could point them to the path that they are best suited for. Whether they choose to follow that will be another matter but at least they are still free to do so since the career chip does not exist just yet. 

Matching Personalities To Jobs

You certainly know someone who is unhappy doing their job. There are a lot of people who are working a job just for the paycheck and can’t wait to find a career doing something that they love. This could be just what those people are looking for as well. Something like this could also help to get unemployed people employed and productive members of society again, which could only have positive societal ramifications all over the country.

Of course the problem is that not everyone can be a CEO or a professional athlete. People will still need to perform those dirty jobs that are necessary for society to function. AI may one day take over many of those tasks but for now a human is still needed. What will happen when someone is steered toward one of those jobs and does not want to follow that path or be matched to a job that they do not want to do? Will we be right back to square one?

It is quite possible that within a decade a high school or college graduate will be given a personality test and after analyzing that as well as their social media profiles they will be pointed into a career path and be paired with a job opening. The AI system will also automatically submit their resume as well. Getting a job will have never been easier and quite possibly the job of the job hunter will go the way of the hamburger flipper and many other jobs being taken by AI. Maybe within the next millennia they will be implanted with a chip that will tie them to that job?

Did Matt Groening predict the future? Probably not but it just shows that technology is advancing far faster than we could have anticipated. If only we could get some of that other cool technology of Futurama too.

So, Welcome to the World of Tomorrow!

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