Artificial intelligence has changed the way many industries do business by automating and optimizing many of the menial but necessary tasks that make up day-to-day work. Here’s a glimpse of how software developers hope to leverage AI in the future.
Ask any software developer about Flon’s Law, and it’s likely they’ll know it by heart: “There is not now, and never will be, a language in which it is the least bit difficult to write bad programs.” It’s a complex field, and every professional in it knows that there are countless steps between an idea and an application that effectively executes on it. Coding a new application is extremely rewarding, but the payoff often only occurs after plenty of frustration.
But what if there was something on the horizon that would make those frustrations a little less frequent, or a development that renders Flon’s Law an ancient myth? What if software development could be optimized to eliminate much of the trial and error that has until now been an unavoidable part of the process?
A 2016 Forrester report outlined just how greatly software development stands to benefit from advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence. In the past, AI was seen as a way to simply enhance a system’s already limited knowledge base. Now, developers design AI-based systems to learn and grow on their own, allowing them to become experts in a specialized area without the need for human intervention. While there remains a long way to go before programming headaches become a thing of the past, AI solutions will soon lend themselves to the smarter development of smarter applications.
Good code begins as a concept — a programmer must conceptualize a function and then design an application that can execute it. Advancements in natural language processing and expert systems may soon allow programmers to simply verbalize suggested changes to a project, then allow the AI system to generate the appropriate code. This could save an incredible amount of time for developers: instead of writing volumes of code for hours, they could simply describe their ideas aloud and tweak the code generated by their computerized assistants.
Another potential time-saving benefit of AI highlighted by Forrester comes on the debugging front. DevOps teams currently spend an exorbitant amount of hours identifying and squashing software bugs that negatively impact the user experience. By leveraging artificial intelligence’s data analysis capabilities, programmers can identify bugs, determine who wrote problematic chunks of code, and find the appropriate team of people to address the problem. Teams can also use historical data from previous projects to predict what may go wrong in the current one and gain insight into how long a given project may take.
Developers won’t just have smarter tools at their disposal — they’ll be able to create smarter consumer-facing applications that utilize the power of AI to hear, sense, speak to, and act on behalf of the user. Intelligent personal assistants such as Siri and Alexa are early iterations of this concept that will continue to develop in the coming years.
Beyond this type of straightforward human interaction, AI developers want to make much more productive — and more helpful — conversations between computers and workers possible. Currently, it is difficult and expensive to code policies that would allow for this kind of advanced interaction using traditional programming languages.
“Weak AI offers the option of templating policies and business rules to build expert systems that focus on a specific business domain or problem area, support neophytes in their daily jobs or help managers make better business decisions,” reads the Forrester report. “While they have limits, they work for simple, confined problems. Rule-based reasoning, augmented with data and machine learning, will push such offerings further, opening more opportunities for expert advisors.”
AI in Other Sectors
Of course, software developers are not the only professionals who will rely on artificial intelligence to augment their own capabilities. Forbes suggests that AI will also heavily influence the healthcare, finance, and insurance industries in the not-so-distant future. For some, the AI revolution has already arrived, and it’s changing the way companies implement and execute their business strategies — and nowhere is that more true than in digital marketing.
Albert is the world’s first artificial intelligence marketing platform to serve as a highly intelligent and sophisticated member of a brand’s marketing team. By leveraging data and applying it to advanced algorithms, Albert is able to help marketing teams plan, execute, and optimize every aspect of every campaign, performing everything from autonomous media buying to cross-channel execution.
While some of these ideas still seem far from becoming a reality, there is no denying that the world is already feeling the impact of AI — and someday soon, it will make even the complex job of software development a little more manageable.