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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Among the thorniest questions hanging over experts puzzling out the future of work is what kind of new jobs will be enabled by AI and robotics — and how many there will be, relative to the work that is likely to disappear due to automation.

The big picture: Some predict wild, new jobs, like "cyber calamity forecasters." But in the near term, one likely outcome — already beginning to play out — is that people will be asked to do work that was previously done by 2 or 3 people with very different skills.

Details: These amalgams are what Deloitte is calling "superjobs" in its latest report on human capital, released on Thursday. These future jobs combine "activities and job responsibilities that traditionally would never be brought together," says Erica Volini, Deloitte's U.S. Human Capital Leader.

  • At a big bank — Volini wouldn't say which — investment advisers are starting to become career coaches, too. That's because peoples' skill sets are becoming as important an indicator of their future wealth as investments, she says.
  • At Cleveland Clinic, doctors and nurses are un-specializing, Volini says. Now, its doctors are expected not only to bring in medical expertise, but also to give top-notch bedside care.
  • In manufacturing, Volini sees a potential new line of work in "robot-teaming coordinators": employees who implement automation and work with software developers to train the robots that will carry it out.

If this sounds like more work for fewer people, well, it might be. If history is any indication, a company that can consolidate 100 jobs into 50 people might jump at the opportunity to shave off a good chunk of a department.

Meanwhile, these polymathic super-workers will only make up a slice of the entire workforce. "As we see the emergence of 'superjobs,' we're also seeing growth in commodity jobs, service jobs, and micro-tasks," Volini tells Axios.

  • The latter includes low-paid, largely undesirable tech work, like what's being done by the "digital janitors" Axios' Erica Pandey profiled last week.
  • In 10 years, Volini predicts, 20% to 30% of jobs will be "superjobs," 10% to 20% will low-wage, low-skill jobs, and the middle 60% to 70% will be "hybrid jobs" that require both technical and soft skills.

The bottom line: As Steve reported on Wednesday, economists say automation is destroying jobs faster than it's creating new ones. The big remaining question is whether or not the best new jobs will be widely accessible.

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Venezuela's predictable elections herald an uncertain future

The watchful eyes of Hugo Chávez on an election poster in Caracas. Photo: Cristian Hernandez/AFP via Getty

Venezuelans will go to the polls on Sunday, Nicolás Maduro will complete his takeover of the last opposition-held body, and much of the world will refuse to recognize the results.

The big picture: The U.S. and dozens of other countries have backed an opposition boycott of the National Assembly elections on the grounds that — given Maduro's tactics (like tying jobs and welfare benefits to voting), track record, and control of the National Electoral Council — they will be neither free nor fair.

Biden plans to ask public to wear masks for first 100 days in office

Joe Biden. Photo: Mark Makela/Gettu Images

President-elect Joe Biden told CNN on Thursday that he plans to ask the American public to wear face masks for the first 100 days of his presidency.

The big picture: Biden also stated he has asked NIAID director Anthony Fauci to stay on in his current role, serve as a chief medical adviser and be part of his COVID-19 response team when he takes office early next year.