We have seem multiple influencers discuss this topic in social media and YouTube but I haven’t found an answer I can accept at this point.
I’ve been programming for more than 10 years so I think I can answer this question from the standpoint of a senior developer, in particular a data scientist.
Given the current capabilities of GPT-3.5 (chatGPT) or GPT-4, I think them as tools that help make programming more efficient but still can’t and won’t replace a senior developer.
What is chatGPT still missing that makes me say developers will not be replaced?
I’ve found that chatGPT is able to help you troubleshoot errors faster but it’s still unable to code a complete application in a reasonable way for you.
So you can ask it to do concrete tasks and chat with it to improve upon the first solution, but this isn’t enough to replace developers.
If all you are doing is running simple scripts, then it’s possible chatGPT might replace you. But if you have experience building complete and complex applications, then chatGPT won’t be able to replace these types of tasks.
Personal Experience with chatGPT
So far I didn’t found it very useful for coding. I’ve been using gpt-3 since mid 2022 so I think at this point I know how to prompt it! 🙂
The issue is that if you already have experience with a topic, you might not even google for things. You can directly troubleshoot errors and just code. This tends to happen with topics I already have lots of experience with.
If you don’t know much about a topic, it’s hard to trust what GPT gives you as output. How do you know if the code is correct or it’s the idiomatic way to do use a language. In this case, you can benefit from a forum.
It’s possible that beginners are the public that can “benefit” from chatGPT the most. Then, there will be a need of senior developers to fix their code or tell them to use their heads and think for a minute!
What about Stack Overflow?
I think it will continue to exist as there is still a need for it. I’ve asked questions in Stack Overflow early in my career or when I got stuck with some task and got excellent answers very quickly.
The difference with chatGPT and Stack Overflow is that you get guidance from someone that has 10000 times more experience than you. If you are able to ask a good question that doesn’t waste people time, you will get excellent answers in Stack Overflow.
It often happens that the error you find can be solved in a very different way and I think this will be very hard for GPT to figure out using just historical data.
There is a much greater need when it comes to new tools. I recently developed a few tutorials on polars and shiny for python. These are new tools and chatGPT hasn’t seen any examples about them.
You could pass in some examples to chatGPT and ask a question but really, this seems like a painful experience. If you want to learn new tools, you will most likely be using Stack Overflow.
Overall I found there is a massive hype around GPT. It’s clear the “founders” a.k.a 🤡 that were part of the web3 scam schemes are getting into the AI trend. Just be careful dealing with these people… They are simply scammers.
For people that were in AI prior to GPT things have changed. There are simply a lot of “fake news” and clickbaiting saying AGI is here, etc.
The reality is not much has changed for now for developers and I don’t think it will change significantly in the future.
This doesn’t mean chatGPT is a fun tool to play around with or use in projects. But it’s still nowhere close to replace a developer.