Do Developers Need to Fear AI?

17 Jun 2024

Whether developers need to fear AI or look at it with hope is open to debate, but the fact of the matter is that they are all definitely nervous about what it entails for them.

These fears range from concerns about AI replacing them altogether to whether they will need to acquire new skills in a world where developers are increasingly using AI coding assistant tools to help them enhance both the quality of their coding and its output.

While there is no doubt about the fact that new-age AI tools like GitHub Copilot, ChatGPT, and Cognition AI’s Devin can do a lot of the stuff that software engineers do admirably well, their emergence on the scene might end up benefiting human developers than harming them. It will, in fact, make software development less dreary, thereby leading to enhanced productivity.

What’s more, by learning to collaborate with AI, developers could leverage the latter’s capabilities to come up with highly innovative solutions.

Far from fearing AI, developers should fearlessly embrace it. All that AI does is that it helps automate part of the software development process. What is important to note here is that software engineering requires much more than technical skills. It needs the essential human elements of critical thinking, creativity, and the ability to solve problems.

While AI tools may be able to perform tasks that involve typing keystrokes or searching for code snippets, these will not really be able to replace the critical thinking and decision-making that a human developer will be able to provide. It is human developers who have to describe the requirements that need to be catered to as well as perform the validation.

They also need to add value to the AI output at every stage. Above all, the accountability of the outcomes lies with them.

You have got to remember that human developers play a pivotal role in performing certain advanced tasks that might include things like coming up with solutions when confronted with unprecedented scenarios and situations. Designing software solutions architecture is again something that requires human skill and ingenuity.

Above all, communicating with the clients is not something that can be relegated to AI tools.

Human programmers bring more than their technical skills to the table. They have the experience of life itself and understand the business environment as well as the cultural context that it functions in which is beyond the capability of the existing AI tools.

These cannot be relied upon to make decisions with regard to the design to be implemented or even optimizing code, much less resolve problems or exhibit the dexterity required to accommodate ever-changing customer demands and requirements.

AI may indeed replace low-skilled coders, but at the same time, create a market for highly skilled experts able to provide the architectural vision and set the direction to be taken. It is not really replacing programmers, as it is empowering them by complimenting and enhancing their capabilities by enabling them to code much faster.

Even if the writing of code were to be taken over by AI completely, there would always be a demand for people who know what the code is all about to be able to not only review it but ensure that it is maintained and complied with. Just because AI can vastly enhance the quantity of code, written, it does not follow that quality will keep pace as well.

Human oversight will always be required to ensure that one is not swamped with unstructured and ill-defined code that is far from optimal for the purpose for which it was designed.

Besides, you cannot allow AI a free run by granting it total autonomy from human oversight-something that can prove very dangerous to humans as the likes of Elon Musk have repeatedly pointed out.


Developers don’t need to fear AI but adapt to it by upgrading their skills and capabilities. AI can be an effective tool in augmenting and enhancing the scope of what AI can do for humanity, but it would be foolhardy to trust a machine to make critical decisions on our behalf.

Human oversight is not only important but also imperative to ensure that we utilize AI for our good and benefit and not end up in a scenario straight out of a dysfunctional sci-fi scenario.