In Mark Zuckerberg's vision for the future, most forms of everyday work could require more imagination.
On a recent episode of the "Lex Fridman Podcast," hosted by MIT computer scientist Lex Fridman, the Meta founder and CEO said that as modern technology continues to develop, tech-focused jobs will increasingly dominate the world — just not necessarily the types of "tech jobs" one might experience today.
"Part of what I think is going to be great about the creative economy and the metaverse ... [is that] a lot more people in the future are going to get to work doing creative stuff than what I think today we would just consider traditional labor or service," Zuckerberg said.
His prediction stems from personal experience: When he first launched Facebook in 2004, coding "helped build something utilitarian," he said. Now, he added, he watches his daughter make "code art," typing in equations to create visual, artistic expressions.
The idea, Zuckerberg said, isn't that every future job will involve digital art. Rather, it's that the automation of some basic systems — which enables children to easily create art through code, for example — will allow people to spend more time on tasks like creating new products and making older processes more efficient.
The concept itself isn't exactly new. For years, tech experts have predicted that artificial intelligence will eventually be able to replace humans in relatively mundane tasks, like compiling spreadsheets or writing basic code.
With less time spent on tasks like gathering and organization data, people will theoretically be able to spend more time on analysis and brainstorming – which require a type of creative, critical thinking that artificial intelligence can't replicate.
"These efficiency-boosting technologies are fantastic for eliminating the need for human engagement in time-consumer back-office tasks or physical heavy lifting – enabling humans to focus more on the intellectual heavy lifting," Ernst & Young global CTO Nicola Morini Bianzino wrote in a blog post last year.
That shift may already be occurring: The Covid-19 pandemic expedited the implementation of robots into everyday life in toll booths, hospitals and dining halls across the country. In October 2020, the World Economic Forum predicted that data entry, secretarial, accounting, factory and mechanic jobs would likely be lost to machines by 2025.
In total, according to the World Economic Forum's report, 85 million jobs could be eliminated within the next few years. But that number could be far outweighed by the report's estimated 97 million new roles created by emerging technology.
Those jobs would largely be in fields like digital marketing, business development and data analysis — which tend to require creative and critical thinking skills, the report noted.
Sign up now: Get smarter about your money and career with our weekly newsletter