21st: The top 10 new jobs for 2002

The top 10 new jobs for 2002: By Wendy M. Grossman. New technologies mean new job descriptions. Be the first bot therapist on your block!

Published January 5, 1998 8:00PM (EST)

1. Copyright protection officer: Goes around to schools to make sure that children writing papers, reciting poetry or playing with trademarked toys aren't violating any copyrights, exceeding fair use in quotations or bringing trademarked characters into disrepute.

2. Embedded advertising manager: Develops, manages and implements campaigns to place links to company sites and products in Net-based editorial matter. Also in charge of traditional product placement in movies and TV shows and newer techniques -- such as hiring actors to impersonate ordinary people discussing new products (books, movies, music, tools, software) in public places like buses, trains and coffeeshops, as well as newsgroups, BBSes and chat rooms.

3. Electronic image consultant: Designs and develops backgrounds and syntactical styles for political candidates seeking to use videoconferencing, e-mail and other electronic media. The goal is to create an individual image for each client that is unique, welcoming and appealing, works across all digital media and is casual but not sloppy -- enough typos so the message looks like the client typed it him/herself, but not so many that the client looks illiterate; enough clutter so it looks like the client designed the office him/herself, but not so much that the client looks like a slob.

4. Data obfuscator: Works anonymously across the Net to revamp an individual or company's electronic history to support new job or loan applications, or simply to guard privacy. Job requirements: extensive hacking knowledge. If we know who you are, you don't qualify. Medical subspecialty in biometric forgery. Careful background checking is needed when hiring in this field, as some applicants are double agents for human resources departments of major corporations or national and international tax offices.

5. Human virtual servant: When an intelligent agent just isn't good enough. In his new book for 2002, "Being Analog," Nicholas Negroponte explains why, over the next 20 years, human servants working over the Net will come to replace traditional intelligent-agent software: "The best metaphor I can conceive of for a human servant is that of the well-trained intelligent agent. The 'servant' answers the phone, recognizes the callers, disturbs you when appropriate, and may even tell a white lie on your behalf. The same servant is well trained in timing, versed in finding the opportune moments and respectful of idiosyncrasies."

6. Citizenship broker: Matches individuals to the national government that's right for them and assists with transfers of citizenship, tax liabilities, medical and heritability issues. Why get stuck with a high-tax, low-service government just because of where you were born or happen to live? Choosing the right government can save you and your children tens, even hundreds, of thousands of dollars over your lifetime, get you better access to quality medical care and education, increase your life expectancy and pension prospects and give you better freedom of access to goods and information. You do not have to move.

7. Real-time biographer: A professional who will collect all of your life in the medium of your choice, then simultaneously re-edit and reinterpret it as new events change the meaning of the past. Sleep-deprivation tolerance a must; genetic alteration available for successful candidates.

8. Computer therapist: Counsels computers and bots confused by cranky and inconsistent owners. Job requirements: either a thorough understanding of programming, human-computer interaction and hardware design (Maesian technique) -- or strong psychic ability to commune with machines (Saylesian technique, as depicted in his seminal work, "The Brother From Another Planet").

9. People reviewer: Provides capsule sketches of people to assist those meeting them for the first time. People reviewers must keep notes on everyone they meet, and must travel and hobnob extensively. You wouldn't waste money on a movie that got bad reviews from your favorite critic; why waste time on useless and uninteresting people?

10. Digital Actors' Guild officer: Protects digital actors, animated characters and digitized body parts from exploitation by movie/TV studios, production companies and others. Also arranges personal appearances, offers contract advice and legal representation and manages career development.

And the top-selling book title of 2002: "Genetic Manipulation for Dummies."

By Wendy M. Grossman

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