The Predictions Are Way Off
In the sales pitch for low-code and no-code development platforms at the Enterprise level, like Microsoft’s PowerPlatform, the presumption was that there would be a a shortage of developers requiring non-developers or cititzen developers to take matters into their own hands. And with these tools they would be able to develop robust software.
The prediction that there will be a shortage of developers is being challenged, in my opinion, with the advent of GPT and how that AI Technology is becoming embedded in integrated development environments (IDE) like Visual Studio Code and Github CopIlot AI.
Even if you were to use ChatGPT and asked it to write up HTML code to do something like create a contact form, it will generate it for you and allow you to copy the code and paste it to make that page more easily.
You can be a beginner developer, a pro developer or a non-developer and the benefits of having a “copilot” are enormous. In programming, there’s a concept of pair-programming, where two developers work together. Though I am not a developer, I practice pairing when working with customers as a project manager, and as a pair of stakeholders we can work meticulously to solve issues faster.
Presuming that AI doesn’t grow so out of control so quickly causing panic, pandemonium and a break down of trust and society, enormous good can come of having this level of assistance.
I use a fabulous cloud-based IVR (interactive voice response) platform called Twillo Studio. It’s a low code development platform for creating phone-based interactive solutions like press 1 for sales, press 2 to hear a dog bark. Using ChatGPT, I can ask it to provide the steps to make a voicemail solution and in seconds the answer appears before me. And if a step doesn’t work exactly as I thought it would, I can ask ChatGPT to assist me with that. It’s an ongoing dialog to drive toward a working solution.
I have been using off-shore developers, from India mostly, for over a decade. There are many more outfits there catering to US-based projects. AI and various forms of it as a programming co-pilot are going to have impact on the ones that ignore or don’t apply it to their practices.
I am approaching a maintenance phase of a 12-year old application that will benefit from AI as it involves refactoring which means that the code base written in an older programming language will be upgraded to the latest version. Without AI, these is a very tedious and manual effort that requires switching from user experience to the details of code. I imagine as I get closer to this phase that I will discover the perfect tools to assist with this and let my offshore team know of it. It means less billable hours for them but for myself and my client, it also means a faster path toward making the product more future proof.
When it comes to AI, I see the benefit of the tools being created for creation of text, code, images and sound. I am also keenly aware of the negative sides of it, including ChatGPT. I am staying on top of it all and keeping a public-facing journal of what I am ingesting to formulate my own opinions. Here’s that page in case you are interested: https://www.pillarsupport.com/ai/
Not since the 1980’s when I put aside one hobby to embrace the personal computer as a new hobby have I have been excited and unsure of the future, and amazed at how rapidly it’s all changing and going to change even further.