Can ChatGPT Replace Programmers and Developers? Is it Smart Enough Now?
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“Can ChatGPT replace programmers and developers” is one of the main questions I am asking myself after answering “How to use ChatGPT for SEO” and “Will ChatGPT replace human writers.”
The world of technology and software development is rapidly evolving. With advancements in artificial intelligence, there have been discussions and concerns about the possibility of AI replacing programmers and developers.
A language model on the lips of many people these days is ChatGPT, created by OpenAI.
But what is a language model? According to Mór Kapronczay, Senior Machine Learning Engineer at Superlinked:
“A language model uses machine learning to conduct a probability distribution over words used to predict the most likely next word in a sentence based on the previous entry. Language models learn from text and can be used for producing original text, predicting the next word in a text, speech recognition, optical character recognition, and handwriting recognition.”
While there are benefits to using Chat GPT, there are also concerns about its potential to replace programmers and developers. In this article, we will explore the capabilities and limitations of ChatGPT. And we’ll discuss whether or not it can replace human programmers and developers.
- Who are we Asking if ChatGPT can Replace Programmers and Developers?
- The Concerns of Software Developers
- Can ChatGPT Replace Programmers and Developers? Reassurances for Humans
- The Tasks that ChatGPT Can Assist With
- Advancements in Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Software Engineering Jobs
- Technical and Ethical Questions When Using ChatGPT
- Can ChatGPT Replace Programmers and Developers? Our Conclusion
Who are we Asking if ChatGPT can Replace Programmers and Developers?
Today we search for answers to different queries on the internet. Let's ask ChatGPT the question.
What ChatGPT Says
I could have ended the article at this point, but as ChatGPT is known to make mistakes, I decided to ask our old friend Google for its opinion. After all, it is the biggest search engine.
According to Google
When I ask “Can ChatGPT replace programmers and developers,” it looks like Google does not have enough answers to my exact question (also check out ChatGPT vs Google Bard). A significant number of articles that rank between position one and 20 answer the question “Will ChatGPT …” In my opinion, there is a difference between “can” and “will.”
Now we have the complex task of deciding who is a reliable source of information. We have to do some critical thinking and look for proof and facts.
After reading most of the articles, I can conclude that nobody has to fear for his job. But it would be nice to dig a bit deeper.
The Concerns of Software Developers
One of the major concerns surrounding the use of ChatGPT in programming and development is the potential loss of jobs for programmers and developers. As ChatGPT becomes more advanced, there may be a fear that it could eventually replace human coders and render them obsolete (after all, ChatGPT is great for productivity and efficiency).
Another concern is the accuracy and reliability of the output generated by ChatGPT. Although language models like ChatGPT have shown impressive results in generating human-like text, there is still a risk of producing incorrect or low-quality code if the model is not trained properly or if the input is not well-formed.
Moreover, using ChatGPT in programming could lead to a lack of creativity in the software development process, as the model relies on previously generated text rather than original ideas.
This raises the question of whether AI will replace writers and developers just like robots and computers have replaced some assembly-line workers.
Can ChatGPT Replace Programmers and Developers? Reassurances for Humans
So, can ChatGPT replace programmers and developers (and if you're interested in another question - whether ChatGPT could replace Quora and Reddit don't miss our thoughts there as well)? First, we must examine what skills ChatGPT needs to join the IT industry.
Skills that Developers and Programmers Need
Programmers and software designers or developers need the following skills:
- A good foundation in basic mathematics, science, and logic.
- The ability to solve problems, be it at the conceptual or debugging stage of computer programming.
- Ability to “think out of the box” at any stage.
- Perseverance and patience to try new solutions whenever needed.
- Attention to detail during coding and debugging.
- Communication skills: Computer programmers must create programs for various industries and needs. That’s why it’s essential to be able to communicate effectively and understand the intended purpose of the software they’re creating and the user requirements.
Does ChatGPT Have These Skills?
Let’s start by examining ChatGPT’s basic understanding of math. It looks like the team at Open AI is continuously working on improving ChatGPT (and check out how ChatGPT Plus vs ChatGPT vs alternatives compare). Math questions that ChatGPT failed to answer correctly two weeks ago are answered correctly today. But it is still making mistakes. Look at the following question (Problem 1):
And here is ChatGPT’s answer:
ChatGPT jumps straight into the math without understanding or paying attention to details. (I sent feedback about the problem to Chat GPT. It would be interesting to see when Open AI will fix the problem.)
Although I am not writing code these days, I have some Python and Django experience. But not enough to be able to judge ChatGPT’s capabilities in code generation. So I had to do some research, and here are the results.
- Stack Overflow is a community-based space to find and contribute answers to technical challenges, and it’s one of the most popular websites in the world. For now, it is not accepting any answers generated by GPT or ChatGPT: “Overall, because the average rate of getting correct answers from ChatGPT is too low.”
- “ChatGPT is NOT the future of programming (I’m not impressed).” This is from a video on a Youtube channel that has 164k subscribers. In my opinion, the channel is respectable enough to be considered a reliable reference. Yes, and the title says it all - no need to add anything more.
- ‘Learning To Code From ChatGPT Is A HUGE Mistake …” from a second channel on Youtube with 60k subscribers.
- Cornell University has “A Categorical Archive of ChatGPT Failures.” Among the listed categories, we can find math and coding. The archive was last updated on February 19, 2023.
And the Conclusion is
Can ChatGPT replace programmers and developers? I can quite confidently state that this AI tool doesn't have originality, critical thinking, the ability to analyze problems, or logic. Programming is a creative process that requires human insight and intuition.
The Tasks that ChatGPT Can Assist With
Let’s examine how ChatGPT can assist the industry. But remember, if you use it, you should always validate ChatGPT’s work.
You can ask ChatGPT to generate code snippets in different programming languages. This may help with developer productivity.
Again remember its training covers up to 2021. It will dig through repositories that it was trained on for your code. The snippets of code can be used to validate some ideas or in academic environments, but they will not help develop autonomous cars.
We can ask ChatGPT to generate a function's test inputs and expected outputs. ChatGPT can then compare the output of a function to the expected output, and in the case of them not being equal, it can help to point out the bug.
Or you can ask it to log variables as in the following code snippet:
Comments help other software developers understand your code. They are often a neglected aspect of software development.
Generate Technical Documentation
ChatGPT can help busy technical writers who need to generate documentation quickly and easily.
By analyzing the code and understanding its logic (I hope), ChatGPT can generate natural language text that explains the functionality and usage of the code. This makes it easy for technical writers to create comprehensive documentation without spending hours reading and understanding the code themselves.
Script Generation for Data Science
Can ChatGPT assist with machine learning? Apparently, it can.
In “ChatGPT as a Python Programming Assistant,” Matthew Mayo, who holds a Master's degree in computer science, investigates the ability of ChatGPT to generate scripts in the field of data science. In particular, the ability of this language model to generate a script that will load, convert, and clean the dataset.
Advancements in Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Software Engineering Jobs
DeepMind, which shares a parent company with Google, released its code generation tool, AlphaCode. AlphaCode qualified only in the top 54% of participants in code-writing competitions.
There is an expectation of improvement in the future, but it needs to be clarified if it will take two years or a decade. We know that the work on AI systems for autonomous cars started years ago, but we still have to see the cars on the streets of NYC.
ChatGPT could pave the way for new job titles like “Prompt engineer.” Prompt engineering will become an in-demand skill set in the future. Prompt engineers should understand the principles and techniques for writing model inputs to get the best possible results from chatbots. Facebook groups are already full of prompt offers.
Technical and Ethical Questions When Using ChatGPT
The legal questions surrounding intellectual property rights are complex and ongoing. Currently, ChatGPT does not distinguish between code licensed in a restrictive or open fashion. This could expose people to licensing compliance risks if the AI borrows a prewritten line of code from a copyrighted repository.
And there is a concern that students will use programs like:
Lecturers in computer science are receiving assignments from students completed with the help of the above programs,
Lastly, there is the humanitarian aspect of replacing the workforce with computer programs.
Fortunately, this is not going to happen in the foreseeable future.
Can ChatGPT Replace Programmers and Developers? Our Conclusion
Here are my final thoughts on the question of whether ChatGPT can replace programmers and developers.
Let’s not forget ChatGPT is only an intelligent robot. It uses algorithms to analyze text and hold conversations with humans, and it's good at this task. An enormous number of patterns, from books to program code, formed its thinking. As a result, it can even write some code. This code is not original; it is code that was fed to it during training (ChatGPT crawled nearly the entire internet).
In answering Problem 1 above, it seems that ChatGPT is missing something - logic or critical thinking skills. At the same time, it may have fallen victim to an internal mechanism called “Attention.” When one input is more important than another in a particular case, the model is able to learn which inputs deserve more attention.
I don’t know what ChatGPT will be able to do three or ten years from now. But for now, ChatGPT, as the chatbot admitted, can't replace a programmer. As a tool, it can handle only low-level tasks.
It seems no programmer or software developer needs to worry about their job at this stage. But I would advise them to learn how to use ChatGPT to their advantage.
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