Will AI such as ChatGPT replace developers?
There has been a massive buzz online about AI in the last couple of months as we were treated to the language orientated ChatGPT. But as the dust settles we can start to be more realistic about the tool and what it might mean for web developers in the future.
Will AI such as ChatGPT replace developers? The short answer is no, for the near future anyway.
If we compare this tool to other AI software such as the ones in self-driving cars we can quickly understand how difficult the task of automating something that humans can do is.
Developers should be working alongside AI to help them in everyday tasks much like an assistant rather than replacing them entirely. AI at the moment should be used as a productivity tool to speed up development much like the role that IDEs were designed to assist developers with the code they are writing. There have been advanced text editors for coders for decades now which assist you in the code you are writing by understanding things like the variables you have created so you don’t get spelling mistakes and syntax highlighting so you can spot an error in your code more easily. They have helped developers become more efficient and consistent with their coding and I see AI such as ChatGPT and Github CoPilot working in the same way but more advanced in the fact that they should be helping and assisting the developer in becoming a better version of themselves by helping them speed up their code and problem-solving efficiency.
ChatGPT and other AIs can be very good at producing snippets or examples of codes and while some people have shown that they can produce full websites in reality this is far from the truth. Almost every website has a set of uniqueness or a set of requirements that it needs to achieve which are different from one another and putting that all together in a way in which they work correctly is still going to need a developer. I think the developer role may change slightly but there’s always a bit of stitching to do to make the thing work. Take for example a typical WordPress website, the owner may be able to have the knowledge to install a theme, install the plugins they need, and get something running fairly quickly but at some point down the line, they will probably have a very specific need that stitches the plugins together for the website to work how they need. This is where a developer comes in and I see the same for developers using AI, they may be able to get something running much more quickly than before but they are still going to require programming skills and understanding to get the desired use for the software they are building.
My personal opinion on the growth of AI tools will see an advancement in creativity as the AI will do more heavy lifting and take away the boring tasks it will allow more time for people to get more creative and unique in their approach. In terms of using AI for content writing, Google search has always taken a stance on websites for things like duplicate content where content has been copied from one site to another and the term ‘content is king’ will be even more appropriate as we move forward. Unique content will be given more strength as human experience is always tailored to the individual, which is something AI won’t be able to replicate. So I imagine Google will continue spotting good quality content as AI-generated content is against its guidelines, that being said producing something is better than nothing so again using ChatGPT as a form of tool for content writing will give you an edge over someone that doesn’t.
AI can also be used as a learning tool as it’s a bit friendlier in the way that it responds to a certain question, though ChatGPT isn’t always correct in the answers it gives it can save a lot of time searching instead of crawling through endless pages on Google or getting into a fight with other developers on Stackoverflow. AIs should be used in conjunction with your own knowledge and expertise and shouldn’t be seen at this time as a replacement.
About the Author
Stephen is a web developer who has been building websites and applications for over a decade. He continues to build projects and solutions for clients and enjoys teaching others in his field.