Design Jobs of 2050: A Speculative Design and Fiction Project

Extracted from my Masters research project, this is an introduction to a Speculative Design Project that considers what ‘design’ jobs may look like in 2050, if object-oriented philosophies were introduced into school curriculums in order to prepare students to think objectively, in a non-anthropocentric manner, for the highly entwined and complex world we are part of.

For the full article head over to my dedicated research site

In the year 2050, humanity has finally accepted and involved the rich vibrancy and agency from the entities that surround us, with their innate or intentional abilities to positively and negatively affect all the systems that surround them. There are a profusion of systems that societies rely on, that embody a confusion of social, technological, and environmental elements that depend on a delicate balance for equanimity. The boundaries of these systems have become blurred. Transhumanisation, enhancement-therapy, is a reality. AI assisted decision making is normalised in developed countries at the individual level through to all levels of government, from deciding where to eat or what to wear, to international policy making; hacking from interest groups and state-departments, is now the most subversive type of aggression between nations and organisations. Renewables are the most common form of energy generation which is now largely decentralised, reducing risk from natural disasters and network attacks. Ecology restoration projects which started before 2020 have seen forest systems begin to recover, though full recovery of these systems are still centuries away. Technology is attempting to balance out the collapse of pollinator insects for agriculture as well as forestry restoration projects. The diversity of systems has seen a rise in the need for experts that can unravel and understand the entwined relationships between all the actors in these systems.


Presented here are 6 design jobs on offer from the year 2050. Design as a skill in 2050, no longer exists as a discrete skill. Rather, design is acknowledged as a natural trait among intelligent beings. The skills that cross the creative and scientific chasm have become abundant and nuanced, as the blending and tensions of natural and technological systems have enforced a move away from humancentrism. Because of this, relevant philosophy subjects first became popular and then made compulsory and taught alongside language, maths and science, throughout school years.

The generation now entering the workforce, have been taught the foundations of foresight practice during their formative years, and they have also been introduced to concepts of object-oriented thinking through ecological and technological framing. This generation is accustomed to think beyond human spacial and temporal scales, and they readily acknowledge that human perception is not the only valid perception of our world. In a number of countries, government departments have AI assisting nation-building policy decisions, giving technology a power over entire populations. The public being aware of this technological influence on their lives, are cognisant of the mediating effects of all technologies, affecting every life across the globe. These accumulating acknowledgements introduce new life-centric needs and ethical implications that organisations must confront in their activities.

As societies increase their awareness of the needs of nonhuman entities, it drives the demand for equality and justice in complex systems, enforcing a new type of informed pressure on business and government. As business and government attempt to address these demands they realise that it requires evermore specialisation to understand nuanced definitions of justice, equality and ethics.

Keep reading over on