In a world that constantly evolves with technological advancements, the role of software developers remains crucial. However, the rapid progress in artificial intelligence has left some seasoned developers feeling uncertain about their place in the future. Let’s take a few minutes to dive into how I, an aging software developer, is addressing recent AI/ML advances and
tl;dr finds excitement and hope for a future that I want to be a part of for a long time.
Nostalgia and Reflection
In my years as a technologist, there have been several impactful technology advances that required a complete change of thinking and a whole new set of skills.
- The way we shared resources with the client-server advances in the ’90s
- The move to the web later in that decade
- The shift to the cloud in the last several years,
- Remarkable advances in computing power as we moved towards smaller and incredibly powerful devices
Throughout my career, I have had the fortune to witness the transformative power of technology evolve firsthand.
However, as with any era, we now find ourselves facing another disruptive wave of innovation. Also, somehow, this seems a little different. More disruptive.
It seems that many of us were suprised with the release of ChatGPT-3 (3.5, 4), the advances and obvious potential of this technology. Whenever we saw “advances” in AI/ML in the past, we mostly dismissed the tech using the “nothing new under the sun” attitude. ChatGPT-3 was different. It was farther along than we thought and generated the fear that this technology may replace people’s skills and render their experience obsolete. I needed to know more.
I’ve been reluctant to try ChatGPT. Today I got over that reluctance. Now I understand why I was reluctant.— Kent Beck 🌻 (@KentBeck) April 18, 2023
The value of 90% of my skills just dropped to $0. The leverage for the remaining 10% went up 1000x. I need to recalibrate.
The Same, But Bigger
So, we dove deep. I worked with a team of very smart people to see what the real ramifications were to our company (just like everyone else). More and more product announcments are being made every day. I believe that these technologies are going to be as disruptive as anything we have ever experienced in our professional lives.
But, it is also a lot of the same. There is a lot to learn and new skills to gain. But the reality is that AI/ML in the way we’re currently applying it, augments existing expertise and allows us all to reach new potential. We can get to finding solutions to complex problems more quickly and use that as the foundation for even greater advances. It makes me very excited to see what comes next.
Unpopular opinion: Any engineer afraid AI will take their job must have been pretty "meh" in the first place, since any good engineer knows the job is to automate yourself out of a job and move on to automating yourself out of the next job, over & over again til the end of time.— Jessie Frazelle (@jessfraz) March 27, 2023
The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
These technologies are transformative and I, for one, am determined not to miss out on this extraordinary opportunity. The next few years will reshape the way we engage with our world and I’m conviced it will unlock huge possibilities.
Rather than being overwhelmed or feeling left behind, let’s embrace the chance to be an active participant in what comes next. The integration of AI/ML technologies into software development is not about replacing human expertise but about amplifying it. By leveraging the capabilities of AI models like ChatGPT, we will enhance our own skills, expand our knowledge, and embark on new avenues of innovation.
As an aging software developer, I am excited to recalibrate and retool. I am embracing being a lifelong learner and am eager to adapt.
I want to be a part of whatever happens next. It’s going to be awesome!