Will Chat GPT Eliminate The Need For Programmers?

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Man typing code on a computer

Chat GPT is here, and its presence is shaking up many parts of the business world in a big way. Many people are wondering if this AI will make their jobs obsolete or have other large impacts on their careers. One of these jobs is programming. 

Since Chat GPT has direct connections to programming, many programmers are worried that the program could eliminate the need for programmers. They are worried that Chat GPT poses a threat and, if it does, how big this threat is. 

So, are these jobs in danger? Keep reading to find out. 

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What Is Chat GPT?

The actual entity creating these industry disruptions is Chat GPT, a prototype artificial intelligence chatbot. It uses an improved version of the GPT-3 AI. By chatting with it, people can have their questions answered by the AI in a conversational manner. 

The part about this that concerns people is how advanced Chat GPT is. It doesn’t just answer simple questions like a Google search, though it does do this. It is also capable of holding full conversations, writing short stories, and passing the exams for law and business schools. The part that is worrying programmers is the fact that Chat GPT is capable of coding. 

Plus, the fact that it is conversational and easy to use means that it isn’t just tech professionals using it. Pretty much anyone is able to use Chat GPT and, thus, is able to start having their problems solved by it. 

Chat GPT’s Effect on Programming

Chat GPT’s ability to program is unlike almost anything that came before it. Previously other programs and software have been created to help make coding easier. However, most of these require knowledge of coding and computer languages to even operate. 

In this regard, Chat GPT changes the game. It is capable of generating code from simple text descriptions. This means anyone can go into Chat GPT and ask it to generate something for them by describing what they want it to create. If they want a basic app, all they have to do is describe its function, and the AI will create the code for it. They can even ask it to alter the code it has created. 

In some cases, Chat GPT is even able to look at and critique code. If you enter code into it, it can help find errors and offer suggestions. This is another potential programming job that it is effectively doing on its own. 

All of this makes it seem like Chat GPT can replace programmers. However, it is important to acknowledge Chat GPT’s limitations before making the final call. 

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Chat GPT’s Limitations

Two people analyzing a strip of code

Chat GPT handles basic coding like a pro. However, beyond this, it is extremely limited and can even be entirely wrong. 

Part of this comes from the limited nature of Chat GPT prompts. You can have it create something simple that can be described in a few sentences. However, anyone who has gone through a programming bootcamp knows that a job rarely requires only a few sentences of direction. In most cases, a few sentences barely cover a job’s core concept. The clarification and additional details could fill paragraph after paragraph on top of this initial idea.

In addition, Chat GPT is prone to human error and even magnifies it. This sounds a bit paradoxical, as Chat GPT obviously isn’t human. However, it receives human instructions. If these instructions are a little bit unclear, Chat GPT will easily misinterpret them and, in doing so, run in the completely wrong direction. Meanwhile, humans have the ability to see errors in communication and either correct them or ask for additional clarification.  

Finally, Chat GPT is occasionally flat-out wrong. It doesn’t actually have the agency to know whether things are right or wrong. It simply consolidates knowledge and spits out an answer to the best of its ability. If there are flaws in the information it consumes or something else goes wrong, it won’t work correctly. Because of this, it will often generate code that just doesn’t work or that doesn’t suit what it is needed for. 

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Will Chat GPT Make Programmers Obsolete? 

The big question is if Chat GPT will make the programming profession obsolete. The answer is no. 

Chat GPT simply has too many limitations to allow it to replace programmers entirely. It is incapable of performing certain tasks, especially more advanced ones. This means that programmers capable of these tasks, especially at higher levels, will always be needed. It also is incorrect and unreliable far too often. This makes it entirely unsuitable for jobs where accuracy is a necessity. 

It is also incapable of the imagination and creativity that humans are capable of. Becoming a programmer requires a lot of creative problem-solving, even more than most jobs do. The normal level of creative problem-solving is a struggle for Chat GPT, so matching the level that a programmer uses would be even more difficult. This is a deeply human feature that AI will likely struggle with for a long time. 

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In fact, rather than sounding doom for programmers, Chat GPT can be a valuable tool for them. They can use it to generate some simple code in order to avoid having to write it out themselves. They can even use it to evaluate some code they have written.

However, even this needs to be double-checked. The code Chat GPT generates and the suggestions it provides may not be entirely accurate. In fact, what it generates often looks correct to the average person but will be identifiably wrong for any experts. This is why it is absolutely critical for programmers to know what they are doing before even using Chat GPT as a tool. 

Woman programming while looking out a window

Chat GPT and Programming

Chat GPT isn’t something programmers should be worried about. It has too many limitations to ever replace what human knowledge is capable of. In fact, programmers should be thinking of this AI as another tool in their arsenal. When framed this way, Chat GPT may be a positive development for all programmers out there.

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