Artificial Intelligence Can Now Write Software Code — But Your Jobs Aren’t Going Anywhere!

by Vishnu Anand - Jan 17, 2023 10:56 AM +05:30 IST
Artificial Intelligence Can Now Write Software Code — But Your Jobs Aren’t Going Anywhere!Machine Knowledge can collaborate with Man, not replace him. (Representative image). (Pixabay).
Snapshot
  • AI-enabled auto-coding software are becoming hugely popular among engineers.

    While they reduce code creation time and increase code quality, these tools are still at infancy.

    Jobs are not at stake. In fact, these tools enable engineers to work better and faster, assure experts.

The end of 2022 saw the IT industry embracing artificial intelligence (AI) through applications that closely mimic human behaviour in the IT sector.

In other words, AI is, today, able to generate software code by using intelligent algorithms, and IT organizations are rapidly adopting such software in order to empower their engineers to become more efficient.

While there are rumours and fears that AI-driven tools will take away software jobs, the reality is that these tools only arm engineers with better code.

A typical example is ChatGPT, which has skyrocketed to become the most popular AI content tool in the recent past. From school assignments to java code, ChatGPT blends the power of crowdsourced and open-source content with chatbot functionalities to generate content pieces in near real-time.

While tools like these may successfully generate basic level content, their authenticity and real-world usefulness is questionable. There are many loose ends — such as recent versus historical content, and ownership of the content that is being collated.

In short, ChatGPT at best, acts like a starting-point for writers in the fairly long process of content creation. The said writer is still the author, and no software is able to replace him or her.

Copilot is another app that leverages the power of AI to generate software code. It was the massive growth of Copilot that rang alarm bells among the software development community, and created a hysteria that jobs are going away. We need deep analysis to uncover the fact that software jobs are indeed as safe as ever.

In order to understand the role of Copilot in the software development cycle, we spoke to senior engineer and technology analyst Neel Neeraj. He explained, “The most popular method of code creation at organizations is the pairing method, where two engineers work on developing a piece of code. While one engineer writes code, the other looks for errors, and vice-versa. Such a buddy system ensures good quality code. Copilot replaces one of these guys and flags coding errors in real-time so the engineer is able to develop good quality code faster.”

Explaining the backend functioning of Copilot, he said, “Copilot has access to a virtual database of previously written code by engineers across the world, that is available on open source platforms. When Copilot receives a query, it looks for patterns to sift through huge repositories of code and identifies one to fit your needs. But remember, Copilot has no way to understand exactly where and how you are going to be using this code. That’s still an engineer’s job.”

It’s called Copilot for a reason. The pilot is still a software engineer, and that job is not going anywhere.

Software HR expert Uma Maheshwari believes that engineers of the future will be engaged in more business-critical activities. “If engineers are logically sound, they will be able to leverage AI tools to learn and empower to grow and create innovative code for disruptive solutions. The fact remains that AI is still at a very nascent stage and it will take decades before it is able to even come close to mimicking human behaviour.”

Rest assured, software jobs aren’t going anywhere. A clever engineer will look to leverage AI tools to get rid of menial coding tasks and focus on more critical activities of software development.

Vishnu Anand is a writer and journalist who dabbles in technology, sports and lifestyle. His columns have appeared in 'The Hindu', 'Deccan Chronicle' and 'Mid-day'. He is also a social worker and an evangelist of truth.
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