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How Coding and Other Tech Careers Could Be Impacted By AI and ChatGPTby@ryanayers
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2,708 reads

How Coding and Other Tech Careers Could Be Impacted By AI and ChatGPT

by Ryan AyersMarch 1st, 2023
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ChatGPT launched only several months ago as a prototype. The program is ostensibly a highly sophisticated chatbot that produces articulate responses that are eerily similar to actual human conversation. Chatbots have already played a role in helping customer service divisions with their scalability. They have also played a vital role in HR management. But in both instances there is almost always a human hand at work, guiding the chatbot.
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Since the plow, humans have had a natural wariness over technology that seems to threaten their jobs. It’s a natural anxiety. Factories, plows, and automation legitimately have scaled back the need for human labor. And now technology seems to be coming after jobs that previously appeared to be untouchable.

Drivers, communications professionals. Even doctors. The past several years have brought developments that seem poised to change things both in the coding and customer communications industries.

Are these technologies passing fads or a legitimate threat? In this article, we take a look at what is out there and think about what impact these technologies may have on the job market.

Read on to learn more about how AI and ChatGPT may affect careers in the tech industry, and beyond.

The Situation

In 2021, an innovative AI program was launched. AlphaCode, an AI that could write code and efficiently solve basic problems. Or not so basic, as it would turn out. AlphaCode’s producers, a company by the name of OpenAI began to enter the program into online coding competitions.

All of the other competitors in these competitions were human. In contests with 500 people or more, AlphaCode dependably outperformed at least half of the participants. Not only did it perform at a high level, but it dependably wrote new lines of code without needing to rely heavily on
duplication —performing with a level of efficiency and accuracy that surprised even its creators.

Of course, in objective terms, outperforming half the people in a contest is not particularly impressive. AlphaCode may have beaten several hundred people, but it lost to several hundred more. Still, the performance invites an alarming question. Will there be a time in the not-so-distant future when AI is good enough to hold a monopoly on coding jobs?

Greater Context

Coders reading this may notice their muscles tense ever so slightly, but this isn’t necessarily the story of how AI is taking a job that used to be done only by humans. In fact, that was never OpenAI’s intention at all.

The company insists that OpenAI was never meant to replace humans completely. “Even if this kind of technology becomes supersuccessful, you would want to treat it the same way you treat a programmer within an
organization,” Solar-Lezama, a developer with the organization says. “You never want an organization where a single programmer could bring the whole organization down.”

AI is complex. So is coding. Letting a single program shape the way other programs are written could have dire risks. OpenAI views the technology as, at best, a tool to help other programmers work faster and more accurately.

The developers also suggest it could be used as a powerful training tool, reverse analyzing existing code to help student programmers understand the purpose of what they are looking at.

ChatGPT

ChatGPT launched only several months ago as a prototype. Because it’s still very much in its infancy, it is very hard to grasp the full context of its debut as an AI-driven technology. The program is ostensibly a highly sophisticated chatbot that produces articulate responses that are eerily similar to actual human conversation.

Early users have reported being extremely impressed by the depth and breadth of the information provided. However, even just several minutes in, there have been many reports that the program suffers significantly from inaccuracies.

What Does This Mean for the Tech Industry, and the Job Market at Large?

Chatbots have already played a role in helping customer service divisions with their scalability. They have also played a vital role in HR management. However, in both instances there is almost always a human hand at work, guiding the chatbot, and providing additional support where it is needed.

Because chatbots are nothing new, it is hard to view ChatGPT as a disruptive technology. Impressive though the program, the mixed results of its launch indicate that it is still a long way off from eliminating customer communications as a human endeavor.

ChatGPT could potentially suggest a wider proliferation of chatbot technology. Businesses that haven’t been using chatbots prior to its debut—

What businesses are those? I haven’t noticed them.

Maybe because you were too busy interrupting to take notice. Businesses that haven’t adopted chatbots as a form of customer communication might be more comfortable doing so if they have the option to use a program that feels more authentically human.

This could, of course, have an impact on specific people’s jobs, but it’s hard to anticipate the broader context of what it will mean for communications-based jobs without seeing how the program performs over time.

For now, ChatGPY looks more like a tool that will be used with humans than one that will be used to replace them.

The Bottom Line

Products like ChatGPT, and indeed the larger world of AI hint at a future without people that seem indispensable now. This includes coders, sure, but also writers, customer service professionals, drivers, and many more jobs that have previously required a human touch since the dawn of their existence.

And yet it takes only a look at the results that these technologies are producing to understand their limitations. Sure, AI can organize words into sentences on a page. But they can’t produce articles that are as funny, clever, and downright enjoyable as the one in front of you right now.

And AI can code, but not at the human level. Not for abstract or creative purposes that define the industry for so many people in the first place.

There may be a time when all that changes, but it isn’t now. It’s probably not even soon. Eye your AI with suspicion, sure, but don’t let it keep you up at night. For now, talent and creativity are still bankable skills that you can use to find work in the tech industry, and beyond.