Now, as they say, for something completely different as Keith Smith, MD of business development platform The Advertist looks beyond 2020 and imagines the world of 2060 – will there even be marketers, let alone Rockstar ones?

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January 01 2060:

‘The Future Starts Here’ – an advertising line for a gig worker sponsor, lifted from a music album from the turn of the century.

It just popped up in my visual feed and it got me reminiscing.

My father had the record – a 40th anniversary celebration of music by a band called The Doors and I used to sneak into his study and listen to it when I was a kid. The Doors was one of his favorite bands even though they were a bit before his time.

“Music was music back then,” he’d tell me. “Not like this electronic, mind numbing robot-manufactured crap you all have today. Music had a personality.” I miss his rants against my generation. I think it was trying to deal with the stress of his work that finally blew up his heart. I only got to know him for 13 years of my life and he hadn’t retired. He was still on the wheel, trying to make sure he had enough cash to live on when he finally got off – which he didn’t.

I often wonder what he’d make of life now. “How can you live with all the uncertainty?” he’d say. “How can you do all this ‘work a bit here, work a bit there’ way of life? It’s so…Romany.”

I consider myself to be one of the fortunate ones. I found my gig worker sponsor early in life. Gig worker sponsors pay for your lifestyle, like a retainer. They gamble on your future and in return, you provide them with a drip, drip, drip of regular income, like a tithe from the old days. Many tithes make a fortune and that’s what my sponsor is banking on. It’s all he can bank on really. The old days of buying and trading company shares is a lock out. It’s the privilege of the institutional investor now because they got sick of all the get rich quick strategies that sent the markets soaring and then plummeting. So Phil, my sponsor keeps me in the lifestyle to which I’ve become accustomed and, in return, I generate money for him to fund his lifestyle.

I’m one of his gigs.

I’m lucky really that I’m always so busy. I have gigs in three countries now, three in Britain, one in The Netherlands and I just picked up a new one in Australia. I make lots of different products for the gaming and entertainment industry, which is cool because I’m always doing something different – it keeps my mind active and I find that work I do, say for the Australian outfit, crosses over into other jobs I do. But the main thing is, I do them on my time. I can control the deadlines and I’m known for always delivering as promised, which makes me a more successful gig worker. The better your brand, the higher the fee you can command.

Phil funds all my healthcare needs and in return, I make sure I stay in peak condition. I eat well, using products grown in the community garden in my block. I can’t remember the last time I had a burger – probably when I was a kid, but if too much bad cholesterol shows up on my monthly health scan, Phil hears about it and then he’ll be all over my ass about keeping myself healthy so I don’t affect his revenue stream.

The block, where I live and work is one of the better ones in the area. It’s got massive storage for all the elements I need for printing out the prototypes I use for work, as well as for all the practical things I require for life. I just printed out a new bike, which I need, but it’s just so handy to have all the raw materials piped into the building. I can’t go out that much because of the state of the air but my block has its own velodrome and me, and a bunch of other gig workers run a competitive league, so I built the highest spec I could afford.

Jenni, my partner and I live apart, but in the same lifestyle block. We met after we both made ourselves available on the in-house dating network. She’s pretty cool. Her family are mostly gig worker sponsors and she’s trying to recruit me into their network but three things bother me about it. Number one, we’re not a permanent item and if that all goes south – awkward. Number two, they don’t have any entertainment experience in their portfolio – mostly sales and marketing operators, so I would have to deal with trying to justify my every move to them. Lastly, I like Phil. He took a big gamble with me, given my father’s untimely demise but he’s done a lot to connect me with new opportunities and I feel I owe him a lot more than just a slice of my income.

Besides, the sales, advertising and marketing sectors are so unpredictable. The new economy drove a flying bus through their revenue models. I choose what advertisements I see, and when. My block is signed up to an agency that covers a lot of buildings in the area. We’re all what they used to call upper middle class. We’re all professionals in a high-earning gig-working neighborhood so the agency that broadcasts all the in-vision ads we see is very particular about the brands and products vying for our attention. It works like this: We sign up to an ad-view list, specifying what things interest us, what we’re looking for, and the agency tenders for bids from suppliers. The ads are then broadcast to the system in my lifestyle block and I get them on my entertainment screen, my Hololens and all my comms. I can also earn credits for recommending products to my contacts, based on my own credibility and influence factors. All in all, it’s a pretty sweet deal.

I’m not much into politics. Because I work around the world, which is such a vital part of the global economy, the global political system dominates the local, country-specific one. All I’m concerned with is that I don’t get blocked or banned from any of the international gig working network directories, so as long as the powers don’t screw with that, I’m happy.

Politics became such a street-fighting process, people got fed up with it because it was taking up all the precious oxygen which, ironically, they continued to ignore concerns about. The air became so toxic because governments repeatedly refused to deal with the problem and eventually, they were all in danger of losing their jobs, so the balance of power transferred back to the people. It was too late to stop global warming but we slowed it down considerably and within the next few decades we’ll be looking to new, other worldly solutions.

New planets offer new opportunities and wherever these pioneers fly, they’ll need to be entertained, which is great for people like me. There’s always hope, right? You just need to know where to find it.

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