Is AI Automated Coding A Serious Threat To Programmers?

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) researchers published an academic study about the role AI will play in software development by the second half of the 21st century. They claim that by 2040, machine learning and natural language processing technologies will be so advanced that they will be capable of writing better software code faster than the best human coders. This claim is further strengthened by the creation of a new application named Bayou that can write code.

To think if AI will automate coding is absurd but of course, it will! AI has automated many tasks humans used to do a decade ago and we are going fast in this respect. Artificial Intelligence can already compose songs, paint pictures, help in cancer therapy, drive cars, play games and make medical discoveries. AI is increasingly made to learn like humans and so it will soon learn to code like humans or even better!

The real thing to ponder is when and what will the outcomes be? As it is more difficult to code than drive, so obviously it will take more time to make automated coder than automated locomotives. To give a specific timeframe is not possible but it is understandable that the jobs to be automated last will be those that are highly trained and operating at a very high-efficiency level. This takes us to a very interesting twist i.e. thinking in terms of nouns not verbs!

Software Engineers do far more things than coding and developing; they apply science and statistics to the world to make it better for others and does not look at it as just a job that earns money. So the future is software engineers who can’t code. Thus, AI can automate coding but not replace software engineers. Coming to outcomes, the world will become used to software doing things long before the AI takeover, like you pull out your mobile to call a cab instead of using your mouth. Does that seem like a threat? I think not!

Long gone are the days when programmers had to write code from the scratch. Coding has revolutionized with a lot of tendency towards re-usability of code, this is a natural transition as we humans are crafters. We are used to creating tools to help us perform jobs bigger than ourselves. We started in the ancient times with axes, picks, iron forging, machines, automation tools to make us stronger. Now we are just trying to create something smarter (in theory) from us. It’s unavoidable.

People like Elon Musk like to picture AI as a monster who is ready to destroy the human race or at least enslave them. But we need to understand that there is a huge difference between dependence and subjugation! As long as we are clear to make AI assist us, it is not here to steal our jobs. Think of it this way, if all jobs are one day taken by AI we will still have one job, whatever you name it; to keep AI under human control! And believe me, it’s not something that is going to lead us to a jobless horrible future.

Author Bio: Tehreem Farooqi is a freelance writer and a Software Engineering student at National University of Sciences and Technology, Islamabad, Pakistan. Follow her on LinkedIn.

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