The latest discussion in the world of Artificial Intelligence revolves around Open AI’s Codex, an AI system that can translate natural language and essentially write its own code. Will it help solve the scarcity among professional recruitment tech coders and developers moving forward?
A natural translator
Armed with a mission ‘to ensure that artificial general intelligence benefits all of humanity’, OpenAI recently built and released their AI system that translates natural language to code: Codex. In essence, it is a multilingual bit of tech that can interpret simple commands and execute them on the user’s behalf. Codex is a descendant of GPT-3, OpenAI’s third-generation language prediction model released in July 2020. GPT-3’s main skill is to generate natural language in response to a natural language prompt. Meaning it solely affects the world through the mind of the reader.
“Codex empowers computers to better understand people’s intent, which can empower everyone to do more with computers.”
But with Codex, OpenAI have attempted to up the ante. “OpenAI Codex has much of the natural language understanding of GPT-3, but it produces working code. Meaning, you can issue commands in English to any piece of software with an API”, the company says. “Codex empowers computers to better understand people’s intent, which can empower everyone to do more with computers.”
“What we see is a great tool that shows off the possibilities of AI and GPT-3 when it comes to boosting productivity in certain areas of work and life”, Sead Ahmetovic, CEO of developer jobboard WeAreDevelopers tells Recruitmenttech.com. “The first reviews of its results are very promising and the whole industry is curious about the further development.”
“Overall, it can save time on the more repetitive tasks. Like most technology, it’s an enabler.”
Craig Sweeney, SVP of global strategic talent solutions at WilsonHCG views the AI development as promising — but is all too aware of its flaws. “Humans are still required to check the code that the AI produces, because it can produce problematic code, according to reports”, he says. “And of course, this technology could also become a target for those with nefarious intent. They may try and take advantage of any vulnerabilities it has. But overall, it can save time on the more repetitive tasks. Like most technology, it’s an enabler.”
“Basically, this particular tool collects massive data and creates an algorithm that enables desired functions and drives favoured outcomes”, says Tatjana Zotovic, talent acquisition specialist at tech recruitment agency Omnes Group. “An A.I. technology can come across as spooky. It must be somewhat weird to watch it take over specific tasks, or in this case: a code challenge. A.I. has transformed the staffing industry as well. And despite the fact that most recruitment agencies will heavily rely on the multiple assets at their disposal, that still doesn’t make recruiters obsolete. The same applies to developers and their tech.”
‘The importance of developers will grow’
Codex was recently described as a ‘problem solver of tasks that would be tough for a lot of humans’ in a recent feature in the New York Times. Which raises the question: could Codex potentially serve as a replacement for professional developers? Ahmetovic and Zotovic don’t think so. “The demand for professional developers is still growing and there is no end in sight”, Ahmetovic says. “Software development became so much more complex in recent decades, and it’s not just about writing lines of code.”
“The day-to-day job of a developer might change, but his or her importance and responsibility will even grow.”
In the long run, Ahmetovic expects tools like OpenAI’s Codex to simply serve as a way in which developers take short-cuts and save time in writing code. “They will be able to focus their work on other aspects of the software, such as the business logic or the creative parts”, he says. “The day-to-day job of a developer might change, but his or her importance and responsibility will even grow.”
‘It could make them more efficient and accelerate their performance’
“While this technology has its advantages”, it still requires a human to operate it”, says Sweeney. “It can automate certain tasks and processes, which save time, and may require a different set of skills to use it — but the human element is still necessary to create something impactful. We’re living in a world that’s dominated by technology. So the use of technology — and the demand for developers and coders — will only continue to increase.”
“The use of technology — and the demand for developers and coders — will only continue to increase.”
That sentiment is echoed by Zotovic, who says it’s ‘unlikely’ it will ever replace the actual people behind the keyboards. “This AI solution can offer countless perks to the developers who start to use it”, she says. “It could somewhat contribute to overcoming the shortage in the qualified workforce by enhancing the efforts that those you have already hired offer. It could make them more efficient, productive and accelerate their performance. In that way, a tool like this could help businesses shorten the time to market with fewer engineers on board.”
In a galaxy far, far away
Whereas professionals developers will continue to be hard to come by — and much-needed in any futuristic scenario, the A.I.-fed speculation will always persist. “We’ve witnessed it in real life. And we’re heavily armed with SciFi knowledge Hollywood has been handing out for decades”, Zotovic says. “What will happen in the very, very long run in a galaxy far, far away, nobody knows”, Ahmetovic concludes.