Will Computers Replace Programmers!?

INTRODUCTION

HOSTILE TAKE OVER!?

Will computers eventually replace programmers in the future? Now, this is an interesting question that I stumbled upon in Quora. I mean, will the day come where programmers make themselves go out of jobs with programming?

No, it is unlikely that computers can replace programmers in the foreseeable future. It requires a great deal of research and testing for artificial intelligence to be able to debug and upgrade themselves. Even so, a certain degree of human intervention is still required.

Rest easy for now, but as dumb as this may sound, I personally still believe that it is entirely possible for AI to replace humans. How can that even be possible? Why is that so? How long before the machines invade our planet? Let us explore the various facades in this article – Read on!

 

 

 

SECTION A

THE BASICS

First, let us understand a little more about programming, and walk through some simple examples in layman terms.

 

PROGRAMMING IN A NUTSHELL

Programming is a way to “instruct the computer to perform various tasks”.

Hackr.io

Yes, the mythical process called “programming” is actually nothing more than a human putting some instructions into a machine. For example, how would a remote control (RC) car know how to move forward, backward, or sideward?

Because a programmer has already written some instructions into the remote controller (programmed the controller), and we only need to push some buttons to activate it; Machines don’t do anything by themselves, and we need programmers to put in some instructions.

 

HOW PROGRAMMING LOOKS LIKE

Just how does “programming” look like then? Following up with the above RC car example, here is a small piece of example pseudo-code (not an actual programming script, but something that looks like it):

switch (wheel.direction) {
  case "up":
    car.move("up");
    break;

  case "down":
    car.move("down");
    break;

  case "left":
    car.move("left");
    break;

  case "right":
    car.move("right");
    break;

  default:
  case "center":
    car.stop();
    break;
}

 

 

CAN WE USE CODE TO WRITE CODE!?

When we talk about a computer replacing programmers, it will mean creating a piece of code that can write more code. So the very first requirement is – Can we create code that writes more code? The answer is yes, and it is actually pretty common among programmers to do that. Here another piece of example pseudo-code:

var stream = file.create("script.psc");
stream.write("echo 'This is generated with another piece of code!';");
stream.close();

 

SECTION B

WHAT IT TAKES TO REPLACE PROGRAMMERS

Of course, the simple trick above is only good as a baby’s first step. To replace human programmers to a certain degree, we are going to need code that can “think”, “evaluate”, and “act” – Artificial Intelligence (AI).

 

WHAT IS ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI)

Artificial intelligence (AI) is an area of computer science that emphasizes the creation of intelligent machines that work and react like humans.

Techopedia

Yep, I am sure that some of you guys might have already heard of AI. Even used it in your own daily life.

 

 

AI PROGRAMMER – CODE THAT WRITES CODE

But how well does AI fit as a programmer? What will it take for an AI to fully replace programmers? Following up with the above RC car example again, the AI has to:

  • Understand the requirements and scope of the project – We are trying to create a remote control for an RC car.
  • Understand how all the hardware components work.
  • Able to translate all the requirements into code.
  • Troubleshoot and debug if anything happens.
  • Work with and understand humans.
  • Learn other related skills as the project requires – Probably design the layout and buttons of the remote control. Know some ergonomics.
  • Self-improve the product as bad use cases arise.

So yes, the above practically means that we are going to need an AI that has intelligence at a human level. Not just an average AI, but one that also has specialized skillsets on par with computer programmers.

 

SECTION C

NOT HAPPENING SOON

AI can write music, play chess very well, understand human speech. That sure is a worrying trend indeed. But I am sure most people will agree – AI is still far from human intelligence, even further from specialization. So no. A total replacement is not going to happen anytime soon.

 

REPLACING PROGRAMMERS – REALLY?

Even if AI does get to the point of maturity, can human programmers really be totally replaced? I mean, it really is kind of ironic when we mention “replace programmers with computers”. Let us run through some of the facts:

  • A machine needs some instructions to run. That has to be written by programmers.
  • For human programmers to be replaced, we need an AI program that can understand and know how to write programs.
  • That again, requires a human programmer to write the AI program.
  • If the AI code writer doesn’t perform as expected, humans have to step in.

So conclusion, there will be a degree of human intervention no matter what. Human will not be entirely knocked out of this cycle… Not until AI is so advanced that they can self-correct and evolve themselves (kind of scary).

 

 

AI WILL STILL DISPLACE SOME PROGRAMMERS

AI may not take over human programmers entirely, but don’t laugh too soon. Especially for you beginner code ninjas. The day will come where AI is not really that intelligent, but they are still smart enough to displace jobs.

For example, we can just throw the design of a website to the AI, and they will roll out all the code instantly. No junior web developers required, only the more experienced code ninjas to further refine should there be complex requirements.

 

EXTRA

USEFUL BITS

That’s all for this article, and here is a small section on some extras and links that may be useful to you.

 

LINKS & REFERENCES

 

 

CLOSING

WHAT’S NEXT?

Thank you for reading, and we have come to the end of this article. I hope that it has helped you to better understand, and if you want to share anything with this article, please feel free to comment below. Good luck and may the cyber force be with you!

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