The Gist

  • Job impact. AI threatens high-skilled jobs, especially in programming and development sectors.
  • Coding assistance. AI-powered chatbots can significantly increase the productivity of programmers and developers.
  • AI integration. Low-code/no-code platforms will likely adopt AI/ML capabilities, expanding their role in technology modernization and application delivery.

There is good reason for people to be concerned about artificial intelligence (AI). How AI will impact people’s jobs at all levels is an important question that needs adequate attention and planning.

Culturally, the popular trend is to look at the “lower-level” jobs that AI can potentially impact, like truck driving, giving weary humans time to rest in the sun and enjoy the fruit of AI's labors. But the reality is very soon AI could run a company as well as any CEO, as easily as it could do any low-level job. It is interesting to point out that we don't see a lot of stories in the media about how AI is coming for senior executives’ jobs. Yet.

A more pressing issue is rearing its head as of late, which is how will AI impact coding, the profession thus far impervious to technology modernization and the march of progress. After all, coders are ushering in this new AI-driven future, how can the architects of our new reality be so easily replaceable? And what does this mean for the mantra to the emerging youth from college to “Learn to Code!” as a solution to future-proofing their career path?

To be a little more targeted in our discussion, how will the emerging trend of no-code/low-code software be impacted by AI chatbots and will they serve to enhance and bolster the software, or make it irrelevant and redundant, like the programmer that software itself is trying to replace. Quite the conundrum, isn’t it?

AI Chatbots and Coding

AI chatbots like ChatGPT and Bard are making the news lately, with people amazed by how certain content creation tasks can be assisted by generative AI, from creating cover letters to assisting in business presentations. Researchers at OpenAI, creators of ChatGPT, found that 19% of workers hold jobs where half their tasks could be completed by AI.

But they found that the jobs that were most at risk are not the low-skill, down-and-dirty jobs we have been led to expect, but higher-end jobs with lots of skills and salary. Yikes! In fact, it is programming and development that are the most at risk of jobs due to AI. Researchers at Microsoft and GitHub found that programmers assisted by AI were able to complete tasks 56% faster than unassisted ones. That is a huge impact in productivity and can seriously upend programming employment. Kiss 50% of your development staff goodbye.

Technology companies, like all companies, love the idea of replacing people with automation. You know it’s people who complain, want money, time off, get sick, annoying things like that. So, tech companies have been working hard to develop coding assistants within their generative AI chatbots. Amazon has built CodeWhisperer, a coding assistant, while Google AI-powered internet search chatbot can now generate and debug code in over 20 different programming languages. But it is still in development and not always generating the best code.

"Bard is still an early experiment, and may sometimes provide inaccurate, misleading or false information while presenting it confidently. When it comes to coding, Bard may give you working code that doesn't produce the expected output, or provide you with code that is not optimal or incomplete," said Paige Bailey, group product manager at Google Research. "Despite these challenges, we believe Bard's new capabilities can help you by offering new ways to write code, create test cases, or update APIs."

Related Article: ChatGPT and Generative AI: Just Another Tool in the Creative Toolchest?

AI and Low-Code/No-Code

Today no-code platforms help business users, also called citizen developers, to move beyond the static spreadsheet to leverage shared development tools and automation across the enterprise. Low-code is more used by developers to deliver or support software with little coding. Given the fact that AI can assist coders to complete tasks 56% faster, it seems ideal for low-code applications.

Learning Opportunities

In fact, the GitHub study found that it was the less experienced engineers that benefitted the most from AI, with the technology helping to level them up to more experienced, and expensive, programmers. This gives a lot of strength to low-code, allowing more junior developers to work with marketers to deliver more advanced applications faster-to-market than ever before.

Things are starting to blur between AI and low-code/no-code platforms. Low-code and no-code are interfacing with AI, while some AI platforms are building in no-code capabilities. Low-code and no-code AI/ML-powered platforms will allow non-AI people to create AI apps from a list of predefined components.

Low-Code/No-code is only set to grow and take on a more important role in the enterprise. According to Gartner, by 2024 more than 65% of applications will be developed using low-code/no-code development. This is expected to be even a larger trend in bigger companies with 75% of large enterprises planning to use at least four low-code/no-code development tools.

Related Article: ChatGPT Is Already Replacing Humans in the Workplace

Looking Forward

The addition of advanced AI/ML to low-code/no-code platforms may give them even more life and take on a larger role in technology modernization and application delivery. Low-code tools with AI can be used to empower more junior developers to level up their skills and supplement or replace more expensive skilled programmers.

Right now, AI chatbots are not a threat to coders, but they will improve, quickly. The same technology that drives the chatbot can and will be used to enhance and make low-code/no-code software more effective.

In the end, AI will be a huge benefit to low-code platforms and applications, cutting development costs, improving time-to-market and increasing scalability.

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