“If a deadly virus starts spreading rapidly, few countries, and few people, will be prepared. Nurses will be in short supply. And as death rates rise, and neighborhoods are shut down, someone will have to guard the gates.”
This may be familiar to those of you who looked at the Science: So What page on future jobs, it’s the job description under the title of “Quarantine Enforcer”.
Earlier this week, I wrote a piece about the future jobs report, written by the futurist consultancy company Fast Future, as it claimed that sub-atomic devices will be used by nano-medics in the future (they won’t). Checking out the references in the original report also showed up some pretty shoddy work.
Since my last post, I’ve been checking out some more of the references.
Next to the detailed job description for Quarantine Enforcer, there is a single reference to a Forbes magazine article from 2006, which mentions quarantine enforcer as a possible future job. But there is also a link on the Forbes website to a list of jobs which might exist in 2026. They give the following summary;
“Are you prepared for the flu of the future? If a deadly virus starts spreading rapidly, few countries, and few people, will be prepared. That’ll be good for certain occupations. Nurses will be in short supply. And when people really start dying, and neighborhoods are shut down, someone will have to guard the gates.”
I don’t remember Forbes getting any credit in the press release…
It appears that Fast Future have, on at least 2 occasions, copied, pasted and superficially edited text from websites into a list of job descriptions which has subsequently been massively publicised. In both of the instances I have found, the references provided don’t directly point to the source of the text.
You should be angry about this. Fast Future were paid public money, and this report has been used to bolster their professional reputation. The report was published with a fanfare and publicly supported by the Prime Minister and the Science Minister, Lord Drayson. Of course I don’t expect them to delve into the detail, but I also don’t expect public money allocated to the promotion of science to be wasted like this.
The head of Fast Future, Rohit Talwar, tweeted (I prefer “twote”) yesterday;
“Fascinating range of coverage on the future jobs report – A Guradian misquote and use of the phrase ‘sub-atomic’ generated a lot of heat”
I offered him the chance to comment on my last blog, to which he replied;
“I saw your article. You have every right to say what you think. Explained our approach in the report – understand that some may not like it”
You’re right, Mr Talwar, I don’t like it at all.