Will AI eliminate the need for human programmers in the next five years, or will it turn all of us into coders?
There’s strong evidence that AI will surpass the ability of human coders:
1. OpenAI’s ChatGPT can now pass Google’s exam for high-level software developers.
2. GitHub reported that 46% of code across all programming languages is built using Copilot, the company’s AI-powered developer tool.
3. DeepMind's AlphaCode AI has outperformed human programmers. When pitted against over 5,000 human participants, the AI outperformed 45% of expert programmers.
...and all of this is in the first 6 months of ChatGPT! What will happen as the tech advances over the next year or two? And what does this mean for the future of human coders?
On the stage of my private Abundance360 Summit last month, we heard a debate about whether or not “humans would still be coding in 5 years.”
Is it possible that AI will take over all coding?
Should we embrace the inevitable and tell our kids they no longer need to learn to code?
Is the future of human coders as dire as the pessimists predict?
In this blog, we want to paint a more hopeful picture—one that flips the paradigm from scarcity to abundance. A future in which more people than ever will be able to leverage the power of coding to solve important problems and uplift humanity.
Let’s dive in…
(This blog is written by Peter H. Diamandis, MD and Steve Brown)
AI is Democratizing Coding
Rather than eliminate coders, the emergence of this AI tech is more likely to turn any and all of us into coders.
With generative AI coding, anyone will be able to simply express what they desire in natural language (in my case English), and the generative AI will convert it into usable code—transforming your ideas into reality in seconds. In this fashion, the tech will allow a doctor, lawyer, or small business owner to describe their desires, with the AI then automating code generation and task optimization.
By eliminating barriers that once blocked creativity, anyone can now build systems that solve problems and create value for society.
As NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang noted during a recent earnings call:
"We've democratized computer programming for everyone … who could explain in human language a particular task to be performed."
We’re all creators and coders now.
But in this new environment, does it still make sense to learn how to code? Should your kids continue to learn Python or another programming language?
While you’re first reaction may be to say “No,” Steve Brown, my Chief AI Officer, has a different opinion:
“Coding is not about a particular computer language or even about writing programs per se. It’s about cultivating a mindset of computational thinking: enhancing your ability to break down complex problems into manageable components, devising logical solutions, and thinking critically.”
This is a skill that will be increasingly important.
While it is true that AI has enabled machines to speak English, if you really want to collaborate with AI and harness its power, learning the native language of AI will give you a distinct advantage. It’s how you go from a “naive end-user” to an actual creative partner, problem solver, and critical thinker.
Humanity’s Best “Coders” Will be Hybrids
Technology has always allowed individuals to do more, faster. Robotic farm equipment has increased the output of a farmhand by 1000x, while computers have empowered investors, scientists, and digital artists by orders of magnitude.
Now AI, in a somewhat recursive manner, is enabling our best AI programmers to amplify their skills and programming prowess 100-fold.
AI-enabled programming is a superpower for both the novice and the experienced coders.
AI tools such as Replit and Github’s Copilot are helping developers automate redundant workflows, learn faster, work more efficiently, and scale their productivity.
For example, researchers at Microsoft have found that software developers using AI assistants completed tasks 55% faster than those not using AI assistants. And an MIT study showed that the top 5% of programmers performed orders of magnitude better while partnering with AI.
Now and for the near future, the best coders are humans working with AIs.
Why This Matters
By democratizing humanity’s ability to code and by amplifying the abilities of our best coders by 100x using AI, we are super-charging our future.
In one sense, we are accelerating the rate of technological advancement. It also means that the tools we have available for problem solving are more powerful than ever before.
As Zachary Tatlock, a Computer Science professor at the University of Washington, puts it:
“It’s unclear if there’s any cap on the amount of software that humanity wants or needs. We haven’t been meeting software demand.”
At the same time, AI’s ability to learn and improve itself means that we’re increasing not only the quantity but the quality of code and solutions that we produce, leading to new AI-powered breakthroughs.
The next blog in our AI Series will be based on a recent discussion I had with Emad Mostaque, CEO of Stability AI, one of the world’s top generative AI companies.
NOTE: I'm hosting a 4-hour Workshop on Generative AI in a few weeks for my Abundance360 Members (those who are part of my year-round Abundance360 leadership program). If you're interested in participating in the Workshop and learning more about Abundance360, click here.