How AI Can Help – Not Replace

Artificial intelligence (AI) is here to stay – and its use will only grow. Grand View Research expects the global AI market to grow at a 36.6 percent CAGR between 2024 and 2030, and Statista predicts a market volume of $826.70 billion by 2030. The disruptive technology is seeing interest from users in a range of markets, from healthcare, banking and financial sectors, and transportation to retail and entertainment.  But an area where AI could make one of the biggest impacts is in software development.

The question on a lot of developers’ minds is whether AI will make their skills irrelevant — or will it be a tool that augments their work?

Here’s an overview of insights from thought leaders and industry analysts to provide a clearer picture of what AI can and can’t do and why, at least for now, the industry still needs human developers.

How AI Can Benefit Software Development

Baylor University sums up how AI makes the development process faster, more efficient, and less error-prone: “The integration of AI into software development offers a multitude of advantages, further reinforcing its significance:

  • Efficient code generation: AI can aid in automating the creation of code snippets, saving developers time and reducing coding errors.
  • Enhanced user experiences: AI-driven applications can analyze user behavior and preferences, enabling the development of more personalized and user-friendly software.
  • Automation of repetitive tasks: Mundane and repetitive tasks can be automated, freeing up developers to focus on more innovative and complex aspects of the project.
  • Data-driven decision-making: AI can process and analyze vast amounts of data, providing valuable insights for informed decision-making throughout the development process.
  • Scalability and flexibility: AI can adapt to changing project requirements and scale resources as needed, making software development more agile and responsive to evolving demands.”

Thought leaders at Google Cloud see additional benefits: “AI can provide suggestions for optimizations, refactorings, and best practices. For example, automated tools can suggest individual lines of code, make small corrections in real time, and insert statements to adhere to coding language requirements.”

The Risks of Using AI in Software Development

Although AI holds a great deal of potential to accelerate and enhance software development, there are some negatives that are too big to ignore.

Pluralsight lists some elements of the downside of AI for software development, including  “technology dependence, changes to search engine optimization, weaknesses in data security and privacy, and untrustworthy software output.”

ISVs also need to consider the ethics of leveraging AI for software development. A Capital Numbers blog points out, “The question is not just about what AI can do but what it should do.” Software development processes – whether augmented with AI or not – should be designed not to introduce bias. AI processes must also be transparent and explainable, so people who use the software understand how AI contributed to its development and the impact it makes on its features and functions.

Software developers must also protect personal and sensitive data and comply with privacy laws and data protection regulations when training the system. Cybersecurity must also be a priority. ISVs must ensure their development processes don’t introduce vulnerabilities.

The Limitations of AI Mean Job Security for Developers

All things considered, AI has not advanced to the point where it can replace software developers.

Pluralsight gives three reasons:

  • “Generated code is inaccurate enough to require human review.
  • AI is suited toward established functions with a simple progression of steps.
  • AI requires prompt engineers to provide specific inputs for desired outputs.”
Priyanka Vergadia, staff developer advocate with Google Cloud, concurs: “AI may automate certain tedious tasks in technical fields, but AI cannot replace the creativity, intuition, and problem-solving abilities of human developers.”

But Remember, AI in Software Development Isn’t All or Nothing

Putting aside the emotion associated with technology possibly taking over some of the work you currently do, it’s practical to recognize that AI can be an asset to development teams. AI doesn’t have to take over all aspects of development. Stay in control and leverage AI where it makes the most sense and capitalize on your team’s skill and expertise to optimize your products.

The combination of AI and human innovation just may be a winning strategy for your business.

Jay McCall

Jay McCall is an editor and journalist with 20 years of writing experience for B2B IT solution providers. Jay is co-founder of XaaS Journal and DevPro Journal.