Will AI replace developers in the future?

With the advancements in technology and companies investing more into AI and robots than ever before, the inevitable question remains: will AI replace developers in the future?

Recent articles point to the threats posed by automation processes, often sensationalising the alleged threat that AI poses to jobs, and exacerbating developers’ fears.

The need for human developers has not subsided, but the advances in AI cannot be ignored, with intelligent robots being able to do everything humans do — and more.

Still, today, companies spend billions on their developers and even more on software failures, according to a recent report by Tech Republic. Software development is still, however, a very sought after job, considering that software is the backbone of all companies. Despite this though, software development is a talent that is under threat.

It is quite ironic, that the job of exactly those who are responsible for making the technology behind AI and automation tick, are also the ones that are under risk, for exactly this reason. The future seems somewhat foggy for most developers.

AI like DeepCoder, built by Microsoft and academics at the University of Cambridge, is also a contributing-factor to the concern of developers to fear for their jobs. DeepCoder creates new programs by piecing together lines of code taken from existing software — just like a developer would.

It may not even be realised perhaps, but having big companies such as Microsoft working on something like this surely does not put the developer’s mind to rest.

Advances in technology and AI will continue though, and developers need to come to terms with this. In the 21st century, technology drives our lives. We live in a fast-paced and agile world, with business demands continuously growing. Responding to the demand and technology is becoming more and more overwhelming. Companies have to respond to market needs and stay profitable. The complexity of software and its failures are risks companies can no longer afford.

AI can be applied in software development like a built in fail-safe for code, but with a lot more dimensions.

While developers are smart and work with complex technology, they are also imperfect. We all know the outcomes of faulty software.

Developers work within three main areas — understanding, architecture and testing. Each area brings its own difficulties and code quality often suffers the consequences. IT constraints often occur due to limitations — whether it is time, staffing or not seeing eye-to-eye.

For example, as stated before, everything is about being agile — shipping fast and going again. If you are shipping as often as agile development demands, code quality becomes even more important and therefore testing needs to be carried out far more regularly, to avoid critical issues. Everybody is fighting against time, and can therefore overlook important factors. This could be very critical.

AI will overcome software obstacles

Acellere CEO Vishal Rai doesn’t see AI as a replacement for developers, but rather for augmenting intelligence. AI will be be able to use archives of available data, process it and bring meaning to it. Developers will remain in control, but will be enlightened by the processes of AI.

The open-source community is the totality of these archives. GitHub or Android Open Source Project, for example, are open books with their histories. Bugs, issues and fixes are all retrievable data in open-source, which can empower AI.

To a machine learning algorithm reliant on data, such a source is an incredible opportunity. It allows for learning from the knowledge of software developers who have documented their journey in development, from breaking to fixing code and leading to software improvement.

AI can read these histories to understand how specific software has developed over time. After all, this is how we learn, too. We make use of knowledge and start at the beginning, by learning the alphabet, putting together words, then sentences. The same logic applies to software development.

Instead of seeing this as a threat, AI should be seen as an advantage. In the AI age, developers will become more efficient. Programmers will be able to receive real-time feedback on their design, code issues, duplication and the importance of all their issues, using simple-to-understand numbers and systems.

This is exactly why we developed Gamma. Gamma gets developers quick feedback on code issues, and then helps to solve them. We are also developing our AI feature, to work even faster and to benefit from the intelligence of machine learning.

AI will transform ways of working

Artificial Intelligence will derive meaning from a wide range of data and provide relevant feedback, which will transform the work of many professionals.

Some people believe that a developer will become lazy once he or she is automatically told that their code is sub-optimal, and how they can fix it. We disagree with this theory, because information alone doesn’t fix the problem. This helps shine light on issues, but doesn’t necessarily do the work for you.

AI merely helps you do your job better, teaching you to avoid repeating problems by learning from mistakes.

We have seen it first-hand. Developers are liberated and think of software more strategically, once they experience recommendations for improvement. Instead of searching endlessly for possible issues in the code, they can zoom out and think about the broader picture of how everything fits and joins together.

That is why we, at Acellere, have dedicated our efforts to revolutionising software development and turning every developer into a super-developer. Gamma will relieve developers of their painful tasks and help them in solving their issues faster, in a more comprehensive way.

We are a company that is excited about technology and believe that through AI and good developers, the software world will be changed, for the better.

Test our state-of-the-art Static Code Analyser Gamma.