The Rise of AI-Assisted Coding and Writing
I first heard of OpenAI sometime in 2021 when their DALL·E model-based image generation and manipulation capabilities became publicly available. It created a stir in the tech circle as well as among artists. What pushed OpenAI into the mainstream discussion was their recent launch of ChatGPT, which has capabilities that most people can use, making it a game changer. The way it works is that you provide a prompt and it gives you an output based on that prompt. Students can prompt it to do their homework, journalists can prompt it to write news stories, software developers can prompt it to write code or generate comment for a code snippet, authors can prompt it to write books, and so on.
This capability is still in its infancy but has reached a point where it will soon change the way people work. It was quite tempting for me to have this post written by ChatGPT, but I resisted that temptation because I don’t want to take the fun out of writing a blog post. It would be too easy to churn out post after post using ChatGPT, but then what’s the point? We write in order to aid our thinking. However, I have already started using ChatGPT for writing in general, and so have millions of others.
With GitHub Copilot, AI-assisted coding will gain momentum. Though Copilot started off getting some flack for copyright infringement, but once the dust settles, it will be a game changer. A few open-source alternatives are also in the making and will compete with Copilot. It is just a matter of time before enough software developers would have tried Copilot or equivalent, and they will be surprised by the difference it makes to their productivity. It will take care of writing all the boiler plate, and let you tweak and finetune the core or business logic it proposes. Eventually, the business leaders will expect software developers to deliver more and deliver faster. They will be able to cut cost by reducing the development team sizes or do more with the existing teams.
Some software developers may initially see this as a threat, but this will instead have the effect of making tech more approachable or viable for businesses with smaller tech budgets. The net result will be more jobs in the tech sector. I think it is time for us to start thinking of AI-assisted coding and writing as tools in our toolkit. The future continues to get more exciting.