Will software development be automated anytime soon?

With the rise of powerful AI tools, many people are asking the question of whether software development can be automated anytime soon. Should you be afraid as a programmer? As in any change, you should better adapt the new concepts and turn them to your own advantage. AI and Machine Learning can be of great use in your toolkit as a developer and set you up a few positions ahead of your competitors on the market.

Yet, according to the research of Evans Data, 1 out of 3 programmers fear being replaced by AI. Meanwhile, Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk, two great minds of the last century, are supporting the theory that AI is dangerous and it could even overtake us when gets out of control. Should we fear it? Let’s look into what are the differences between AI and real developers and how we can estimate the risk of automation of a job position.

Software Developer vs. AI

Yes, AI is powerful for finding contextual information, but is it enough to automate software development? In general, our nature, emotions, and soft skills are what distinguishes us from robots. For instance, thinking creatively or emotionally can lead to a better outcome than only relying on following the logic.

In the case of being a software developer, a crucial skill is being able to meet and exceed the expectations of a customer. For example, by applying different and more efficient approaches than what the client thinks they need. In this way, the company achieves higher customer satisfaction, while providing better software products to their customers.

Another advantage of being a software developer is the ability to comprehend. For sure, AI lacks common sense or true understanding of the context. Thus, this could be one of the reasons why it will not replace the position of a human in this sphere.

AI is analyzing enormous amounts of code written by humans to find correlations and similarities to predict future outcomes. Also, it can only use existing matter, thus, it cannot come up with new and innovative solutions. Even though it may be a powerful tool, it still remains imperfect as the humans themselves.

On what does the risk of automation depend?

The main reason for job automation is cost. The cost of implementing replacing technology versus the cost of the salary. Usually, the more repetitive and monotonous jobs are the ones to be automated. For instance, the Third Industrial Revolution transformed regular positions on the assembly line to be replaced by computerized machines. However, what is the other factors that allow the work to be automated?

Further, the risk depends upon the complexity of the job position. For example, a job that requires multitasking would be harder to automize than a more simple one. Thus, the more complex your job is the less possible is to be replaced by the newest technologies.

Additionally, the required skills can be determining whether the position can be automated or not. Jobs with more emotionally based skills such as negotiation or social perceptiveness tend to be less replaceable by AI. Yet, it is not impossible and in some certain situations, these skills may be irrelevant.

Can software development be automated?

The best question to ask is whether the software developers will still be able to keep their jobs even after the advancements of AI and robotization. According to this tool, automating software development can be quite possible in the future, as the risk is estimated to be 41% within the next two decades. Yet, it is not an event that can happen overnight, neither the job is fully replaceable, as described above. Then should the programmers worry about it?

The most important qualities that don’t allow automation at this point are the required originality and social perceptiveness at the position. Thus, again what keeps the position not being replaced is the humane factor required inside of it. The arising question is why AI was even invented.

Many analysts and engineers believe that it could be a complementary tool to the software developers rather than a threat to their existence. A few possible ways are described by eTeam in the figure below. In general, AI will be able to reduce the repetitive and time-consuming tasks for the programmers, while giving them more opportunities to innovate and focus on revolutionizing software development even more.

Software development automated

Source: eTeam

A possible outcome could be that the software developers become AI developers rather than their skills becoming fully obsolete. Therefore, the rise of AI cannot be considered a threat to programmers, but an opportunity to change and evolve. Yet, this is just a prediction about the future.

Is your job position going to be automated?

Now you may be curious whether your job position is going to be automated. You can see the probability at this link. Yet, the results are just a prediction, not a definite outcome. Thus, there is always a chance for something to change in the future.

As the main conclusion, we can say that the weaknesses of AI are actually the strengths of being a software developer. The combination of emotions, common sense, creativity, and comprehension is what keeps the job of software developers irreplaceable. Overall, humanity is the truly distinctive feature in this case. Therefore, any job that requires it cannot be fully automated. In this case, software development cannot be fully automated.

What we recommend to cope with the rise of new technologies is to adapt and turn them to your advantage that boosts your skills and value which you provide. From now on, the tech world is just going to advance, so it is better to hop on the wave before it is too late.

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