I expect for there to be a delay in deployment, but I think ultimately OpenAI is aiming as a near term goal to automate intellectually difficult portions of computer programming. Personally, as someone just getting into the tech industry, this is basically my biggest near-term concern, besides death. At what point might it be viable for most people to do most of what skilled computer programmer does with the help of a large language model, and how much should this hurt salaries and career expectations?
- It will probably be less difficult to safely prompt a language model for an individual "LeetCode" function than to write a that function by hand within the next two years. Many more people will be able to do the former than could ever do the latter.
- Yes, reducing the price of software engineering means more software engineering will be done, but it would be extremely odd if this meant software engineer salaries stayed the same, and I expect regulatory barriers to limit the amount that the software industry can grow to fill new niches.
- Architecture seems difficult to automate with large language models, but a ridiculous architecture might be tolerable in some circumstances if your programmers are producing code at the speed GPT4 does.
- Creativity is hard to test, and if former programmers are mostly now hired based on their ability to "innovate" or have interesting psychological characteristics beyond being able to generate code I expect income and jobs to shift away from people with no credentials and skills to people with lots of credentials and political acumen and no skills
- At some point programmers will be sufficiently automated away that the singularity is here. This is not necessarily a comforting thought.
Edit: Many answers contesting the basic premise of the old title, "When will computer programming become an unskilled job?" The title of the post has been updated accordingly.
Architecture is not JUST for brain limitations. Dividing a large task into separate testable (and formally provable now that we have AI to do the immense labor this takes) modules interconnected by message passing through shared memory with an eye towards performance is architecture.
It's not simple either, for example performance requires someone or something to have a flow graph in their head or represented somewhere to know where the bottlenecks are.
I agree with you on the idea of AI bytecode authors: once you have a program into a representation tight ... (read more)