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Software development, and every other industry, is being revolutionized by the rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning. You may have started to wonder whether you even need a team of human developers, given the rise of AI-powered tools like ChatGPT, Auto-GPT and low-code or no-code platforms. You can now undertake a ChatGPT web development exercise. These tools can help you develop a complete application or website, with minimal human involvement.
So is your development team still necessary? We discuss the pros and cons.
What are ChatGPT and Auto-GPT?
ChatGPT is a natural language processing (NLP) model, designed to engage with text prompts to provide human-like responses. It’s an AI tool trained on huge amounts of text data. Since it has access to significant amounts of information on coding and development, it can help developers with suggestions and answers to questions. This significantly speeds up the development process.
ChatGPT coding can also create entire applications from scratch, though the quality of the output can vary depending on the quality of the input provided and the complexity of the project. It can also generate code snippets and provide syntax guidance.
Auto-GPT is an AI agent that’s extremely useful when writing, debugging, testing and editing code. When you give it a goal in natural language, it attempts to achieve it by breaking it down into sub-tasks. It’s one of the first tools that uses OpenAI’s GPT-4 and GPT-3.5 APIs for autonomous tasks. Since Auto-GPT assigns itself new sub-objectives based on the end goal, no human intervention is required as it creates and revises its own prompts in response to new inputs.
Can AI programming replace human developers?
Since it’s capable of generating code from bare inputs, AI tools like Auto-GPT or ChatGPT could, in theory, take over from human development teams to act as a developer in their own right. After all, they have access to a vast library of relevant syntaxes in all coding languages, the bandwidth to write code and the ability to redo code indefinitely until the user is satisfied with the output. For that reason, many IT professionals consider ChatGPT programming or Auto-GPT programming a risk to their careers.
But is this justified? At the moment, no – human developers still have a crucial role to play.
One major reason is that ChatGPT has access to internet text data and development best practices only upto 2021. Since the field is evolving rapidly, there’s no guarantee that ChatGPT web development will use the latest and best available coding options to maximize application efficiency and usability. Similarly, as Auto-GPT is still experimental, it’s not fully tested or verified. Auto-GPT also raises some ethical issues, such as data privacy and security, plagiarism and copyright infringement.
There are other ways in which human developers outweigh AI developers, too. We examine a few below.
Customizability and creativity
One major advantage of hand-coding over low-code and no-code development is customizability, according to 59% of software developers. Your AI tool can generate code on its own, but it can’t customize it. It delivers a single, ready-to-use block of code.
Unlike AI, human developers can interact with your project managers and internal or external customers to understand the project parameters better. They can speak with several stakeholders to get more details, based on which they can rewrite and customize the code to suit the project. Though GPT-4 is a conversational NLP model, it can’t match the comprehension abilities of human intelligence.
Developers are required to understand the user and create engaging user interfaces and improved user experiences. This demands creativity and a deep understanding of human nature; both still well beyond the abilities of popular artificial intelligence models.
Debugging and future-proofing
Developers spend an average of 17.3 hours per week on debugging. That’s because, no matter how advanced the AI tools become, they can’t catch every bug in every program. You need human intervention for comprehensive debugging before go-live.
In addition to fixing errors, applications need to be designed for the future. That, again, falls under the purview of human developers. AI tools are designed to generate code based on existing patterns and trends. This is great for basic development, but not so much when you’re looking to future-proof your applications.
On the other hand, human developers have the creativity and technical knowledge to keep pace with technological innovations. They can design and develop the project with the future in mind. According to OutSystems, 86% of IT leaders believe that hand-coding can help future-proof their applications as it provides the most flexibility.
Working with AI tools
The role of human developers, like humans in other industries, is likely to evolve rapidly in the next few years, but they’re unlikely to become obsolete any time soon. Whether in terms of data architecture, system design or hand coding from scratch, human intervention is necessary to tap into human creativity.
Think of AI tools as a complementary support to human intelligence – not a replacement. AI makes development easier, faster and more efficient; but it can’t work on its own without a human developer at the helm. It significantly improves speed of development through automation of repetitive tasks, but doesn’t provide critical thinking, experience or creativity.
ChatGPT coding is highly user-friendly, but still requires a human developer to operate the system, enter the right commands, compile the code, test, debug and improve the user experience. Meanwhile, some other AI tools have a steeper learning curve and require some level of technical expertise on the part of the user to be effective.
AI tools are only as good as the data they’ve been trained on. This can result in flawed code built on biased or incomplete training data. In addition, AI tools cannot think creatively, plan for the future or make ethical judgments – especially a problem in sectors like healthcare or finance.
In short, the key is balance. We wouldn’t recommend pure hand-coding of your next project, because it’s impractical in the age of artificial intelligence. Having said that, for all the reasons we’ve discussed above, you can’t plan a project using AI and no human developers. Today, AI is a mainstream technology that will help your business become more competitive. At the same time, it’s unlikely to lead to job loss in the next three years. In fact, 77% of executives surveyed by Deloitte believe that AI will result in job creation.
We see ChatGPT, Auto-GPT and other AI tools as complementary to human development teams, and prioritize collaboration between these tools and humans to increase efficiency. We’re excited to see how AI will continue to transform the industry, and to grow with this cutting-edge technology to take our sector to the next level. Talk to our team today to learn more about how to plan your digital transformation journey – using human intelligence with the support of artificial intelligence.