AI and programming have transformed with the advent of ChatGPT and GitHub CoPilot. They have the potential to streamline work and enhance the quality of code. Interestingly, this rise of AI parallels the automation of banking with ATMs. But, just like the technology failed to replace bank tellers, ChatGPT and GitHub CoPilot won't replace programmers. They will only make their work more efficient. This memo will explore the impact of these technologies on the programming landscape, their challenges, and their benefits. And how programmers' roles will change in the future.
Before we dive into this topic, look at the chart below:
Computer programmers today. Bank tellers back then.
Bank tellers back then were there to help facilitate the deposit and withdrawal of cash at bank branches. They rarely did any selling or relationship building with bank customers. Once the ATM emerged into existence, bank tellers feared that they will lose their jobs and have to find a new career instead. While some banks saw this as a great way to cut down on operating costs, other banks saw this as an opportunity to lower their expansion costs. The number of bank tellers required to run a bank branch was reduced in half. Also, bank tellers started taking charge with maintaining relationships with customers and market new products and services to those customers. As the amount of business that bank tellers brought in increased, banks started opening more branches and demand for bank tellers continued to increase (which you can see in the image above). This change in the nature of the bank teller job lead to higher wages for bank tellers and has also increased the education requirements for the bank teller occupation.
The central idea to be gleaned from this situation is that as technology advances, it creates fresh job opportunities and enhances the skill requirements of existing roles. This, in turn, poses a challenge for us to acquire novel skills and upgrade our existing ones to remain relevant in the evolving job market.
For computer programmers, the productivity gains from using GitHub CoPilot and ChatGPT are immense. According to GitHub, their CopIlot AI application helped developers code 55% faster
. Startups that were once begging for workers are finding that those AI applications are allowing developers to spend more time on higher-level questions
like how an application can be applicable on a larger scale. As companies start seeing higher productivity and lower costs associated with software development, companies will want to hire more programmers, who can utilize AI tools effectively, to increase their output even further. The amount of output that software developers can create thanks to AI are magnitudes higher than without AI, and I believe that this should lead to higher earnings potential for software developers.
In conclusion, the rise of AI and programming tools like ChatGPT and GitHub CoPilot have the potential to revolutionize the way we approach software development. While some may fear that these tools will replace programmers, history has shown us that technology often creates new job opportunities and enhances existing roles. As we continue to adapt to this changing landscape, it's important for programmers to embrace these new technologies and develop new skills to remain competitive in the job market. With the productivity gains and cost savings associated with these tools, companies will likely want to hire more programmers who can effectively utilize AI to increase their output even further. The future of programming is bright, and I'm excited to see how these advancements will continue to shape the industry and benefit programmers and companies alike.
And for investors, expect more competition from startups that are adopting those tools at a faster pace! AI has evened the playing field between bigger and smaller tech companies like never before. The small caps that we love today may become the ones that steal all business from the big tech giants, with just a few programmers.