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  • Writer's pictureAkeju Abiola

Developers Replaced by Robots? The Truth About AI in Coding


A Robot

Introduction

The year 2023 began with a whole new buzz: the AI frenzy! OpenAI had launched ChatGPT, an AI chatbot that could take questions and provide largely accurate answers to questions spanning several fields. People were amazed, interests were piqued, and many started using it to simplify daily tasks. Rival companies threatened by OpenAI’s ChatGPT accelerated their own AI development if they already had one, and those without any started developing their own AI programs. The months after ChatGPT launched, it became a full-blown AI race. One of the areas AI development touched on was coding.

You see, AI Large Language Models are created by initially coding the AI, then feeding it with hundreds of thousands if not millions of raw information. They get tested, and their process is repeated until they meet desirable standards. 

However, people soon discovered they could generate programming codes with ChatGPT and subsequent AIs, though their accuracy varied. Microsoft's launch of Co-pilot also raised brows, and thus the question of whether AI will eventually replace developers in coding. This article will examine this notion, and see if there is any truth. The “robots in the title “developers replaced by robots” refer to AI that can write codes just like humans.


AI in Coding

In March, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang said parents should stop asking their children to learn computer science, as AI will make every child a programmer. If any other random CEO had said this, it might have been overlooked. However, Nvidia is the world's largest AI chip maker and the biggest beneficiary of this AI boom. Although one can argue that statement came from a marketing point of view, the rate at which Nvidia churns out new AI chips leaves one wondering what new chip development could have in stock.


AI application in software development.

While some may view AI as a potential threat to developers, the reality is quite the opposite.

One of the most notable applications of AI in development is code generation and optimization. AI-powered tools can analyze vast amounts of code to identify patterns, detect errors, and suggest improvements. This accelerates the development process and also enhances code quality and reliability.

Additionally, AI continually plays a crucial role in automating tedious and repetitive tasks in software development. From automating testing procedures to optimizing workflows, AI-driven automation tools help streamline processes and free up time to focus on more creative and strategic tasks.

As you can see, AI does a better job assisting an existing developer than replacing his Job. AIs don't have a mind of their own and are therefore incapable of intelligent thoughts unless you want to generate code filled with illogical expressions, syntax errors, and a host of other programming errors that will render your code unusable. You can put total trust in the code your AI generates. 


The Potential Threat to Developers' Jobs

We could argue all day that AIs are incapable of replacing human developers. However, it's normal for the average developer to remain uncertain as history has proven that technological advancements often make certain occupations obsolete. With AI algorithms becoming increasingly sophisticated, there is a fear that software development roles could be at risk of displacement, raising questions about the future of the developer profession.

AI has demonstrated remarkable capabilities in automating various aspects of software development. From generating code snippets to identifying bugs and optimizing algorithms, AI-powered tools are now streamlining coding tasks that were once exclusively within the domain of human developers. This automation has the potential to significantly accelerate the development process and reduce the need for manual intervention.

However, the prospect of AI automating coding tasks has led to concerns about job displacement within the developer community. As AI becomes more proficient at handling routine programming tasks, there is a growing fear that traditional developer roles could diminish in demand, potentially leading to job losses and upheaval within the industry.


The Reality Check: AI as a Tool, Not a Replacement

Amidst these concerns, it is essential to provide a reality check on the role of AI in software development. While AI undoubtedly has the potential to automate certain coding tasks, it is crucial to recognize its limitations and understand that AI is not a wholesale replacement for human developers.

AI is great at involving pattern recognition, data analysis, and optimization. However, it struggles with tasks that require creativity, critical thinking, and domain expertise—qualities that are essential to successful software development. While AI can automate repetitive and mundane tasks, it still relies on human guidance and oversight to ensure that the resulting code meets the desired standards.

Rather than viewing AI as a threat, developers should see it as a valuable tool that augments their capabilities and enhances productivity. When developers leverage AI-powered tools and techniques, they can focus their time and energy on higher-level tasks, such as problem-solving, innovation, and collaboration. AI can complement human expertise, enabling developers to tackle more complex challenges and deliver higher-quality software solutions.


Opportunities AI Brings to Coding

Artificial intelligence is not new to coding. The earliest AI robots humans created were bots, which are executable computer programs. Bots, a short form of robots, have been regularly used and present exciting opportunities for developers to innovate and create new solutions. From building intelligent applications to harnessing the power of big data and analytics, AI opens up new avenues for creativity and exploration in software development.

Perhaps the most important use of AI is learning about coding itself and using AI as an assistant in writing code. AI tools can help developers by suggesting code snippets, debugging, and optimizing code, thereby improving efficiency and reducing errors. AI can also aid in learning new programming languages and techniques, making coding more accessible to beginners and enhancing the skills of experienced developers. This symbiotic relationship between AI and coding has the potential to revolutionize the software development process, making it faster, more efficient, and more innovative.


Challenges developers may face in adapting to AI 

The integration of AI into the development process is not without challenges. The primary challenge is resistance to change within the developer community, as some may be hesitant to embrace AI out of fear of job displacement or uncertainty about its implications. Additionally, there are ethical considerations surrounding the use of AI in software development, such as bias in algorithmic decision-making and privacy concerns.

While AI has the potential to automate specific coding tasks and reshape the developer landscape, it is not a replacement for human developers. When developers understand the limitations and capabilities of AI, they can harness its power to enhance productivity, creativity, and innovation. Embracing AI as a tool rather than a threat, developers can navigate the opportunities and challenges of the AI-driven future, driving progress and shaping the future of software development.


Conclusion

Rather than replace developers, AI will help them become better programmers. AI not only accelerates the coding process by offering real-time suggestions and automating mundane tasks but also improves code quality by identifying and correcting errors with unprecedented accuracy. This dynamic interplay between AI and coding enables developers to focus on creative problem-solving and strategic thinking rather than getting bogged down by routine tasks.

Moreover, AI's role in education democratizes coding, making it accessible to a broader audience. Aspiring programmers can benefit from AI-driven learning platforms that adapt to their unique learning paces and styles, bridging gaps in understanding and boosting their confidence. Experienced developers, on the other hand, can continuously enhance their skills, staying abreast of the latest advancements and best practices.

It is important to note that someone without prior coding knowledge cannot effectively use AI to fill developer roles. While they technically can, the results will be disastrous. Only a trained and experienced developer can understand the nuances and technicalities required for writing codes, allowing them to determine which AI-generated code to accept, reject, or modify.

In essence, AI will not replace developers anytime soon. You have to be an actual developer to grasp the codes your AI generates. AI will enhance programming in many ways rather than outrightly replace developers. It's also crucial to state that junior developers must improve their skills. If a Chief Technical Officer hires junior developers who make lots of mistakes and need lots of help, the CTO might think about using an AI robot to do that role and fix any errors the robot makes.

In conclusion, AIs are here to augment developer abilities, not replace their jobs. Developers remain essential for understanding and refining AI-generated code. The future of coding involves collaboration between AI and skilled developers. As we stand on the horizon of this exciting future, one thing is clear: Skilled developer jobs are not going anywhere.


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