A report released last Friday by the Australian Government’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) contains some pretty interesting reading, particularly for those of us involved in the RC community.
The report, ‘Tomorrows Digitally Enabled Workforce’, looks at changes to the workforce and society being driven by technology. These changes are likely to bring with them significant disruptions to segments of the workforce, and reports such as this are being used by government to help understand future workforce needs and manage the career transitions that many will be forced to make.
One of the encouraging messages that I took from the report, was that many more jobs are likely to be created through technological change than destroyed. Based on a combination of short term forecasting of current job requirements and longer term forecasting based on trends and scenarios, the report speculates about six new ‘jobs of the future’. One of these six new job types is remote controlled vehicle operators.
The rise in un-crewed vehicles is giving rise to a new workforce of pilots, drivers and ship captains along with those with the skills to maintain the hardware and develop the software - not to mention those involved in training this new workforce. The Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has already noted more than 650 applications for remotely piloted aircraft alone, categorising the applications as 'mostly dull, dirty, dangerous and demanding and best done remotely given the risk to human safety'. The report predicts continual growth in the number and diversity of jobs for RC vehicle operators over the next 20 years, as automation plays a greater role in improving safety and efficiency.
With autopilot developers, aerial camera operators, communications engineers and RC retailers making up the regular weekend crowd at the field where I fly, the shift is already apparent to me (the programmers just need to make sure they don’t inadvertently manage to program themselves out of a job).
If nothing else, the report gives me licence to further indulge my nine year old's passion for RC aircraft on the basis that it could be much more than just weekend fun.