Do people really believe that? The discipline of “talking to computers” is not going away anytime soon. It’s going to change, A LOT, for sure. AI is still in its infancy and has already completely revolutionized my daily workflow.
As a developer, stepping into new languages and frameworks is now ten times as easy. The AI functions as a mentor and collaborator at all times, where we fill each others knowledge gaps and mistakes (and yes, it does make mistakes, and apologizes for it quite amusingly).
All the dull boilerplate that I kind of want but, don’t really feel like writing again and again, can be done by the AI. I’m experimenting with tools that can set up the entire code repository, in Python or Go, languages I can understand to some degree, but hardly know the details of. Or I can ask the AI to generate all the testing boilerplate for me, so I can focus on the validity of the business requirements there.
The main thing that will change is how accessible it will be to create a simple piece of software for your particular niche. The tools where “no” is the default and “maybe” costs a fortune, those will disappear. Proof of concepts are going to be considerably cheaper to build. Just a few days of development work and you’ll be able to A/B test a series of workflows in about the same time a “workflow” could be built with a spreadsheet program.
Six months later you’ll be running circles around your competitors because now you have a structured database, enabling you to steer your company progression based on data over gut feelings. Such things aren’t impossible with Excel, but certainly a lot harder and a great deal more unreliable.
A simple analysis would be: People need to communicate. Language is the best way to do that. And code is a language; a very precise language, to document (amongst other things) business requirements.
We might need some new languages that are closer to how people communicate. Right now coding languages (Like Rust and Typescript) are filled with something called syntax sugar; tools to make the programmer write code faster. These things used to make our features easier to write, but with the assistance of AI, it might be easier to use languages that make you write a little more code but define everything quite explicitly and clearly, like Go and C.
The AI has no trouble analysing complexities like syntax sugar, but for people, it’s much easier to absorb if the complexity is low.
Who knows what effects such a precise language might have on our daily lives. As we communicate with AI more and more, we might simply adopt part of it into our own lives, and we’ll be the ones learning how to speak to computers in school.
So no, for now I don’t think AI will lead to less programmers, it’ll lead to more code.
Anne Jouke van de Berg