As anyone who has used a smartphone or an Amazon Echo knows, software has progressed to the point of being virtually omnipresent in our daily lives. We have created machines and algorithms that turn our actions, thoughts, and emotions into raw, tangible data. This is data that software engineers can obtain, exploit and manipulate. However, the game is changing. Instead of traditional programming, in which the programmer writes step-by-step instructions that tells the computer what to do, programmers are training the computers to recognise situations and react like a human would. As this Artificial Intelligence continues to grow, questions should be raised about its future and what it means for programmers.
It’s difficult to know what’s in store for the future of AI but let’s tackle the most looming question first: are engineering jobs threatened? As anticlimactic as it may be, the answer is entirely dependent on what timeframe you are talking about. In the next decade? No, entirely unlikely. Eventually? Most definitely.
The kicker is that engineers never truly know how the computer is able to accomplish these tasks. In many ways, the neural operations of the AI system are a black box. Programmers, therefore, become the AI coaches. They coach cars to self-drive, coach computers to recognise faces in photos, coach your smartphone to detect handwriting on a check in order to deposit electronically, and so on. In fact, the possibilities of AI and machine learning are limitless. The capabilities of AI through machine learning are wondrous, magnificent…and not going away. Attempts to apply artificial intelligence to programming tasks have resulted in further developments in knowledge and automated reasoning. Therefore, programmers must redefine their roles.
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