Changelog Technology-Oriented Podcasts Released a special edition last month – focusing on how developers should respond to the arrival of AI. Jerod Santothe producer of their podcast “Practical AI” hosted a panel at Everything is open conference on “The impact of AI on developers”. And on several occasions, the panel questioned whether some of the questions raised by AI required a collective response from the developer community as a whole…
Panelists exploring the impact of AI on developers were:
Speaking about recent high-profile strikes in other sectors, Quick praised the general principle and “the power of community and the ability of people to come together as a community to stand up for what they think they deserve.” I don’t know if we’re here right now, but I think it’s just an example of what people coming together with a common goal can do for an entire industry.
And then his thoughts took an interesting turn. “And maybe we’ll get to a point where we unionize against AI.
“I don’t know, it’s…maybe not.” But I believe the power of these connections can allow us to have a truly positive influence wherever we find ourselves.
“Organize against AI. You heard it here first,” moderator Santo said wryly – then moved on to another topic. (When Freeman warned against prompts that trigger “hallucinations” of nonexistent solutions, joking that generative AI “is drugged,” Santo joked that the audience was hearing “a lot of breaking news about this panel.”)
As the discussion moved to other areas, she reminded the audience that the problem isn’t just with the advent of powerful, coding-capable AI. The real question is how the developer community is doing answer to the range of issues raised, from code licensing to the need for responsible guidelines for companies developing AI. Beyond preserving their careers by adapting to new technologies, developers could help guide the arrival of tools that alleviate their own problems. They could preserve this basic satisfaction of helping others, while tackling increasingly complex problems.
But as developers adapt to the arrival of AI, the first question is whether they will need to develop a collective response.
The influence of a community
“Organizing against AI” was not a specific goal, Quick clarified in an email interview with The New Stack. He thought it was an example of the level of influence a united community can have. “My main thought is about the power that comes from a group of people working together.” Quick noted what happened when the United Auto Workers went on strike. “We’re seeing big changes because people have collectively decided they need more money, more benefits, etc. I can only begin to guess what an AI-related scenario would be, but perhaps in the future it will take people coming together to put pressure on it. for changes to regulations, laws, limitations, etc.
Even that remains a concept more than a tangible movement, Quick pointed out in his email. “Honestly, I don’t have much more specific actions or goals at the moment. It’s so early that all we can do is guess. But there’s another scenario where Quick believes community action would be needed to push for change: the burning question of “who owns the code.” The AI trained itself by ingesting code from public repositories – and at the roundtable, worried Quick developers might be tempted to abandon open source licenses.
He acknowledged to the audience that there are obviously much larger issues and they can seem a little insurmountable. But he also thinks that some evolution needs to happen, and in many areas – “on the legal, moral and ethical side of open source. There have to be things that catch up and give some sort of guidelines to what’s happening. Quick later argued that this would follow the trajectory of other advances humanity has made – including the need to “recognize that there’s probably a point where we have to have limits.”
Although he quickly added: “What that means and what it looks like, I don’t know.” »
Standards and guidelines?
But soon the discussion went into detail. Santo noted that there are already ways to update a robots.txt file by individual users to prevent specific AI agents from crawling their site. Quick suggested flagging GitHub repositories in the same way as a “reasonable interim step”, although later admitting that it would be difficult to later prove where the AI-generated code got its training data.
But Freeman returned to the role of communities in addressing businesses with a “profit only” mentality – both developers and users. “To some extent, between our work and how we spend our money, we have to tell the market that this is not acceptable.”
So “I don’t want to live in a world where we’re trying to hide from crawlers.” I want to live in a world where we have decided on standards and guidelines that lead to responsible use of this information, so that we can all find a compromise on how we do things.
At one point, Freeman seemed to suggest a careful strategy of picking your battles, telling the audience to “make demands where you can.” But one area in which she considers this essential? Calling for responsible development of AI – which again means guidelines and standards. “We’re in a situation where it’s really our responsibility to push for this and fight against the kind of market forces that would say, ‘We’re moving quickly with a profit-based approach – a profit-driven approach. First of all “. .’”
It’s a topic she returned to throughout the panel, emphasizing the importance of developers “recognizing our own power and influence to move toward a holistic and appropriate approach to responsible AI.”
Thrive and Survive
The panel kept coming back to the needs of the community. Freeman also agrees with Quirk that AI’s impact on developers will one day include tools designed to relieve their least favorite tasks, like debugging weird code, even though it can take a while to get there. “But I think – actually, I keep coming back to it – that we own it and we are responsible for it. And we can kind of figure out what that actually looks like in terms of usage.
The biggest surprise came when Santo asked if they were “bearish” or “bullish” on the long-term impact of AI on developers. Santo admitted he was “long-term positive” – and both of his panelists agreed.
Quick called his attitude “a very positive thing,” aiming to allay people’s fears about AI replacing their jobs. And Freeman also said with a laugh that she’s optimistic about AI — “because it’s happening, right?” Like, it happens. We need to kind of own it and lean into it, rather than trying to fight it, in my opinion.
Freeman’s advice for today’s developers? Learn as much as you can, whether it’s designing prompts or understanding the templates you use, and “recognizing strengths and limitations – and being willing to adapt and change as we let’s move forward…” Just like developers have done in the past, it’s time to grow with new technology.
And on the plus side, Freeman expects “a ton” of new AI tools to be created as venture capitalists fund their investments in the AI ecosystem.
The thief of joy
Toward the end, Santo asked a provocative question: Since detail-oriented programmers pride themselves on their meticulous attention to detail, is AI “stealing some of our joy?” And Emily Freeman said, “I think you’re right. » Perhaps we humans pride ourselves on our ability to spot mistakes quickly, and “this pattern recognition is something that makes us really powerful.”
But a moment later, Freeman conceded: “I think it’s the joy of a few people – it’s not the joy of others. Freeman described his own joy as “creating tools that matter to people…I think the spark of joy will be different for all of us.” But Freeman emphasized that joy and personal growth are important to humans and will remain so in the future.
And that brings us back to the larger theme of taking control of how AI is coming to the developer world. “We set the standards here. This doesn’t happen has We. It happens with We. It happens by us.” Freeman urged developers to “own this” – to identify areas they want to entrust to AI and areas where they want developers to stay, grow and evolve with the newly arrived tools.
So instead of coding yet another CREATE/READ/UPDATE/DELETE service for the thousandth time, “I want to solve the really complex problems.” The challenge of solving new problems at scale is interesting, Freeman maintains. “And I think it’s that kind of problem solving – and looking higher up the pile and having that holistic view – that will empower us along the way.”
In our email interview, we asked Quick if he received any feedback from the panel. His answer ? “I think we got an overwhelming response of, ‘This is something I should pay attention to.’