Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its closely related cousin Machine Learning have become hot topics of discussion around dinner tables and expert panel shows.
Unfortunately, whether expert or opinionated father a side is taken as to whether developments in the technology will bring about the end of humanity or usher in a new utopian age.
These are pretty broad strokes that AI cannot hope to make real, either good or bad, in the near term. However, dinner table assumptions aside, the technology will have a massive impact on how we work; in fact, it already is.
Every economic sector will be impacted by artificial intelligence (AI) technology, hopefully for the better. For those in software development, many are asking the question, will AI make programmers obsolete?
1. Work Flow Improvements
A study conducted in 2013 predicted that 47% of jobs in the US might be automated by 2030. A more recent study predicted that between 40 million and 160 million women worldwide might need to transition to a different occupation by 2030, with clerical and bookkeeping roles being the most in danger of being automated.
Where does this leave the profession that may be responsible for creating the automation software?. This is a question of keen interest for us at DevsData, and we feel it should be looked at in two ways.
Firstly, AI can be of benefit to programmers, and this is being seen across the IT sector even with AI adoption being done at a rudimentary level.
Secondly, does this benefit mean that programmers can be done away with? The software development cycle has many elements that programmers may find tedious, which can be automated.
If we look at the period before any code is committed to memory, the first technology specifications and features need to be determined. Only then can code be written.
Once that is done, the process of testing, deployment, and maintenance begins, which is costly and time-consuming. AI has proven to be excellent at handling the tasks we find repetitive and frankly boring.
For programmers, AI can assist in code writing by preventing errors from cropping up based on a library of successful and unsuccessful code. Further, AI can assist in testing potentially been far faster and efficient as well as fixing bugs with the same efficiency.
2. So, are programmers at risk?
As to the second part, the short answer is not necessarily. While the technology sector will use AI to improve efficiency by allowing AI to take on the mundane but necessary tasks, this frees up programmers in surprising and creative ways.
Programmers will be able to focus on developing better code and better software. The reality is also that programmers are still needed to create the AI algorithms to put in place in the first place, analyzing and curating programmers will do the data for use in the algorithms for the immediate to near future.
This, of course, means that programmers will need to learn new skills and possibly new programming languages, but this has been the case for the profession even before the AI debate began.