Artificial Intelligence and IT Professionals
Mithas, S., T. Kude, and J. Whitaker. "Artificial Intelligence and IT Professionals," IT Professional (20:5) 2018, pp. 6-13.
10 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2019
Date Written: October 12, 2018
As “self-programming techniques” manifest in the form of artificial intelligence (AI), many are wondering how AI will affect IT professionals. For example, some predict that AI could reduce the number of jobs for software developers by 70 percent in India, which accounts for 65 percent of global IT offshore work and 40 percent of IT-enabled business process work.
However, such dire predictions are not new. It is helpful to recall a similar prediction almost 60 years ago when Herbert Simon, a Nobel Prize winner sometimes called ‘the founding father of AI,’ predicted that ‘self-programming techniques’ would lead to the extinction of the computer programming occupation by 1985. Simon noted: “…we can dismiss the notion that computer programers [sic] will become a powerful elite in the automated corporation. It is far more likely that the programing occupation will become extinct (through the further development of self-programing techniques) than that it will become all powerful. More and more, computers will program themselves….”
While massive industrial and technical developments — including personal computers in the 1980s; the World Wide Web in the 1990s; outsourcing and offshoring in the 2000s; and social media, mobile computing, and cloud computing in the 2010s — created some peaks and valleys, the computer programming occupation has continued its inexorable growth, belying the initial pessimism.
Rather than attempt a blunt prediction of future decades, we approach the question of how AI will affect IT professionals by first identifying the factors that influence the demand for software programmers, then discussing how these factors relate to AI, and finally articulating the likely impact of AI on IT professionals.
Keywords: artificial, intelligence, IT, professional
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