In a thought-provoking article published by The Guardian, journalist-turned-coder Tristan Cross sheds light on the unsettling reality that AI is now posing a threat to coding jobs. Reflecting on the era when extremist individuals would taunt journalists with the infamous phrase “learn to code,” Cross recounts the turbulent conditions that pushed him to acquire coding skills.
Having spent a significant portion of the 2010s working in new media, Cross humorously recounts the rollercoaster ride of layoffs and mocking messages suggesting coding as a fallback. However, he eventually took their advice, learning to code as an act of defiance and an attempt to secure a more stable career in web development.
Unfortunately, recent advancements in AI have cast doubt on the longevity of coding jobs. While the limitations of AI are well-documented, with numerous instances of flawed attempts at journalism and legal counsel, business owners remain enticed by the prospect of replacing human workers with cost-effective algorithms.
Cross acknowledges that current AI technologies still make significant mistakes, especially when dealing with chatbots. However, he warns that it is not difficult to imagine a future in which AI evolves to discern users’ needs and guide them through solutions, thereby undermining the role of human coders.
As a self-employed web designer and developer, Cross has mixed feelings about this development. While he is fortunate to have clients who appreciate his expertise and creativity, he remains concerned about Silicon Valley’s eagerness to oversell AI as a means to replace human workers, motivated primarily by the desire to reduce costs.
According to Cross, the excessive enthusiasm for AI stems from those who view it as a lucrative cost-cutting measure, enabling capital to break free from its traditional adversary, labor. He firmly dismisses this perspective as “absurd nonsense.”
The worries expressed by Cross underline the need for a balanced approach in a society that is becoming more and more dependent on AI. While there are clearly many benefits and efficiency associated with AI, it is important to be aware of its limitations in order to prevent the replacement of human workers.
The ability to coexist peacefully with AI and use technology to enhance rather than completely replace human abilities will ultimately determine the future of coding and many other professions.