Sci-Tech
9 months ago

Code writing AI to eat up human coders' jobs?

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In recent years, the world of technology has witnessed a significant shift with the emergence of code-writing AI, raising concerns about the future of coding jobs. 

Headlines proclaim the impending doom of the coding profession, suggesting that AI will render human coders obsolete. While it is true that AI can automate certain coding tasks, the reality is more nuanced. The impact of Code Writing AI on coding jobs depends largely on how coders adapt to this new reality. 

Code Writing AI, often powered by advanced machine learning algorithms and natural language processing (NLP), has made significant strides in automating various aspects of coding. These AI systems can generate code snippets, troubleshoot bugs, and even develop entire applications based on high-level requirements provided by humans. 

The development of AI in this field has been fueled by the massive amounts of data available, which allows AI algorithms to learn from and adapt to a wide range of coding scenarios. 

Amidst the buzz generated by new terminologies, such as ChatGPT, introduced in November 2022, navigating through the prevalent excitement and hype can be daunting. 

Most of today's AI tools fall under the 'Generative AI.' As the name implies, these models can leverage their acquired knowledge to create fresh content, including text, images, audio, and video. 

Another frequently used term is 'Large Language Model' (LLM), a subtype of Generative AI that excels in amalgamating and predicting text to produce coherent and natural-sounding language output.

Capabilities of Code Writing AI

AI-powered Code Generation technology can produce code following human specifications, thereby diminishing the time and labour invested in crafting intricate algorithms or repetitive assignments. Moreover, artificial intelligence has the capability to scrutinise code for errors and provide recommendations for rectifications, enhancing the efficiency of the debugging process. It can anticipate the next coding steps a programmer is likely to take, presenting auto-suggestions and finalising code segments. 

AI automation can streamline testing procedures recognising vulnerabilities and possible code-related problems. AI possesses the capacity to assess pre-existing code and offer suggestions for enhancements, assisting developers in optimising their codebase.

Challenges and Limitations

While Code Writing AI offers many benefits, it is essential to acknowledge its limitations and the challenges it faces:

  1. AI lacks true creativity and may struggle with innovative or out-of-the-box solutions.
  2. Coding often involves solving complex, unique problems that AI may not fully comprehend.
  3. AI can inadvertently perpetuate bias or ethical issues present in training data.
  4. AI systems require continuous updates and maintenance, which may still require human intervention.
  5. Critical decision-making and high-level architectural design still require human expertise.

Adaptation

The future of coding jobs hinges on the ability of coders to adapt to this changing landscape. Those who view code-writing AI as a threat and resist change may indeed find their roles at risk. However, those who embrace AI as a tool to enhance their work and understand the basics of coding will find numerous opportunities.

  1.  Coders can invest in learning advanced coding skills, focusing on tasks that require creativity, problem-solving, and high-level architectural design—areas where AI currently struggles.
  2. Coders can collaborate with Code Writing AI to expedite routine tasks, allowing them to concentrate on more complex and creative aspects of coding.
  3. Human coders can be crucial in ensuring AI-generated code adheres to ethical standards and is free from bias.
  4. Staying updated with the latest advancements in AI and coding is crucial to remain relevant in the industry.
  5. Coders can explore new roles within the technology sector, such as AI trainers, data scientists, or AI ethics consultants.

Case Studies

AI applications hinge on instructing AI algorithms to discern patterns within extensive datasets, and a significant domain generating copious data is data operations. Within data operations, each element, whether it's a table, an ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) pipeline, a transformation, or a data analysis task, involves the utilisation of data and generates valuable (meta)data, serving as a learning resource for machine learning (ML) algorithms.

Companies have started harnessing these algorithms' potential to enhance their engineering workflows. For instance, ChatGPT can autonomously generate boilerplate JavaScript code. Additionally, GitHub has introduced Copilot, a tool designed to propose the subsequent line of code within your scripts, streamlining the development process.

Keboola, a DataOps platform, is launching a private beta AI program to automate DataOps tasks. Keboola introduces a natural language processing engine to make error messages more human-readable and learn from them to suggest effective resolutions. For it, intelligent agents driven by AI will generate documentation with a single click, eliminating the need for time-consuming manual documentation. 

Besides, AI will create knowledge graphs from metadata, enabling Keboola's recommender system to guide users in executing plans, reducing the time needed for impact analysis by suggesting code additions and their system-wide impact.

The largest retail bank in the Czech Republic, Česká spořitelna, employs Keboola and AI technologies to automatically create credit risk scores for individual bank clients. These scores are instrumental in assessing the loan options available to each customer. This innovative approach provides the bank's staff with valuable insights into which products are suitable for specific customers, drastically reducing the time required for sales research from days to mere minutes.

Olfin Cars, a prominent dealer of both new and pre-owned vehicles in the Czech Republic, harnessed the power of Marketing Business Intelligence (BI) to gather historical data encompassing purchases, competitive landscape, and online user behaviour.  

These AI algorithms were leveraged to forecast which marketing messages were most apt to transform potential leads into satisfied customers on their website. The outcome? Remarkably, a phenomenal 760% surge in sales within a single quarter.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is seamlessly integrated into various aspects of our daily lives. For instance, Netflix utilises AI to personalise streaming recommendations, while Facebook employs it to tailor advertisements based on user data. Top-ranked universities rely on AI-powered software to detect plagiarism, and Google Maps uses AI for route optimisation through satellite imagery.

Beyond these common applications, AI is delving into more complex domains, particularly neurotechnology. Recent decades have witnessed remarkable progress, from monkeys controlling robotic arms through brain implants to individuals typing and browsing the web via mental commands. 

In 2019, Elon Musk's Neurolink introduced a wireless brain implant in a pig, a groundbreaking development in neuroscience. Neurolink aspires to aid people with paralysis by enabling computer and mobile device control through brain interfaces, potentially facilitating communication and creativity. 

In April 2021, they showcased a macaque monkey playing a video game using only brain signals. This achievement, while raising ethical concerns regarding animal testing, represents a significant leap in brain-machine communication technology. 

Even Neurolink offers potential benefits for patients with conditions like Parkinson's, epilepsy, dementia, and psychiatric disorders, though it involves questions in different transparency and human privacy domains.

The emergence of code-writing AI undoubtedly changes the coding landscape but does not spell the end of coding jobs. Instead, it challenges coders to evolve and adapt to a new reality. Those who embrace AI as a powerful tool, upskill in areas that complement AI capabilities, and focus on creativity and problem-solving will thrive in this AI era.

Ultimately, the coders who will suffer are those who resist change and fail to recognise the opportunities that AI presents. The future belongs to those who can harness the synergy between human expertise and AI capabilities, ensuring that technological advancements benefit individuals and society.

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