Will Programmers Lose Their Jobs Because of GPT3

I heard about GPT3 a few days ago via а post on Twitter shared by Eric Eliott - a well-known professional in the JavaScript world.

Being honest, I never did anything related to AI or ML, literally nothing, not even a “Hello World” thing. If you want to hear something objective and technical, then this post is not the right place to look at. I decided to write it to just share my thought about GPT3 and Artificial Intelligence, in general. GPT3 demos made a lot of boom in the tech world, and now everyone (including me.. 😳) tries to jump into that “hype train”. Although, I feel shame for saying this but here’s a good chance to share my thought on the topic when it’s on the peak because these technologies are very interesting to me. Ah yeah, forgot to say, when using the word “hype”, I don’t mean the technology itself but the noise that accumulates around it right now.

The Fear

I see some concerns my programmer colleagues share online, like “ahh.. this is the end of programming”, “we’ll lose our jobs”, and even “should I continue to learn React?”, and so on. The question, overall, is: Will programmers lose their jobs because of AI? To answer this question we must first understand where the fear comes from. At first look, it’s banal: people are afraid to be replaced by software handling the same job. But there are deeper levels, like the fear from the dominance of Artificial General Intelligence, etc, which can come from science fiction, apocalyptic movies, and, of course, Elon Musk’s interviews by the time. 🤫 😁

So, Will Programmers Lose Their Jobs Because of AI?

Short answer: No. Long answer: Yes, of course…

What a dilemma 🤔

Why No

We’ll not lose our jobs. The technology is still in its embryo and has a lot of time to grow and adapt in the market. In addition to this, right now it’s too expensive to replace people doing the same thing.

Why Yes, More Strictly

Reason No. 1 - Abstraction 🧵

If you do programming for years, you should realize by now that everything in programming is about abstraction and automation. All our work, in general, serves to one purpose: abstract away the hard parts and build easy-to-understand interfaces on top of that abstractions. We don’t write code in Assembly anymore (at least, most of us). Instead, to be more productive, we invented languages that compile to it.

You should ask yourself this question: What’s the most abstract language in the known nature?

The one we use to speak, right? We haven’t invented anything that’s better and easier, yet. So, whenever we are closer to explain to a computer like we used to explain to another human, the productivity grows because we spend less time to abstract away more layers to do the same job.

Reason No. 2 - Economics 💲

Automation is cheaper. Whenever a business has a chance to replace a worker by a software or a robot doing the same job at a cheaper price, it’ll surely do. Less cost in production produces higher income for the final product. Yeah, I’m cheating here a little because right now AI-based techs are very expensive. But that’s not going to last for long. Like smartphones, AI-based tech will decrease in price during the time.

Reason No. 3 - Progress 🚀

It’s a question for philosophical debate what progress really means. But since we don’t have time for that, let’s assume that humanity is constantly progressing from the beginning of its history. If looking from this prisme, then the world is moving towards the tendency for making our lives easier. Programming languages evolved since the last century and the way we write software now is way easier than people were doing in the 80s, for example. But the constant improvement of programming languages can’t be limitless. The goal is to provide us human-interactable interface where we can talk with a computer in plain English - the most productive programming language in my opinion.



If we summarize the points above, then it’s clear, that the programming, as we understand it now, will transform dramatically. This will happen because the technology will provide businesses new tools giving them the ability to directly interact with a computer without a need to hold a programmer as a 3rd party between their business logic and its software implementation. For most of us, this will cut jobs and salaries in certain programming fields.

What areas will be affected first?

It’s a risky prediction but I think the first wave of changes will affect Web Programming, particularly the Frontend Programming. Yeah, we have examples when the code produced by automation is junky, probably doesn’t have the best structure for human-driven maintenance, etc but that’s secondary.

When will this happen?

You know, we, programmers, are known as people who lack correct predictions 😄. So, very hard to say. But technology grows very fast, especially, technology with millions of dollars invested in. I’ll take the risk and say that this will happen sometime soon. Maybe sometime soon, in my understanding, is not the same as in yours. But even if that will happen in the next 10 years, it’s not a long time, if you think about the perspective.

What should I do? A positive note.

Less programming jobs doesn’t mean no programming jobs at all. There will still be a need for qualified specialists to move the things forward, for example, in testing, quality assurance, logical analysis, and many other things.

I think we should invest our time learning stuff that has room for creativity and gives us opportunities to create something new and express ourselves better. I also think that we should invest ourselves more in fundamental sciences, social interactions, philosophy, art… and everything else we are here for. If we can do that by programming, if we can build new and interesting things, then let’s do it. Humans are very good at expression and not at routine, let’s keep the routine for machines and fill our lives with more meaning. 📐 🔭 🚀 ❤️ 🌱 🌍 ☮️

Hope you enjoyed it!

Sincerely, @oorkan.