The rise of the novice coder: Can AI turn every employee into a developer?

November 16, 2023
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Originally posted on Semafor: Here

Coding — that unexpected LLM skill — may end up having a much bigger impact than the natural language component that has captured most of the public attention.

It isn’t just Microsoft’s GitHub pioneering this space. Companies like Replit and Sourcegraph, among others, are getting traction by focusing on generative AI software development.

Other companies, like Nomad Data, are using code to super-charge LLM prompts. For instance, you might ask a chatbot to gather a bunch of data from a whole slew of corporate documents. Behind the scenes, the LLM has been instructed to create a Python script to gather the data.

The combination of automated coding with natural language is a potent mix that hasn’t really been exploited yet. Part of the reason is that there aren’t enough GPUs and cheap energy to make it cost-effective. But those barriers will eventually come down.

This likely won’t lead to software engineers being replaced by AI, at least based on what we know about the technology today. More likely is the incorporation of code into more aspects of daily life, and more people participating in that transition. It’s taking full advantage of the powerful computers around us, both at work and at home.

For years now, companies have been yearning for employees to become “citizen developers” and take it upon themselves to build software and improve productivity. Automated code generation could help make that a reality.

We often call today’s tech consumers “users.” We may have to come up with a new term for what comes next in the age of AI. “Directors” might be a better one.

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