Don't fly-by-wire with AI until you know the controls

Software developers should approach Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven programming controls with zeal and cautionary awareness in equal measure; no AI should be engineered-in until a technician understands how and why it can deliver the functions it promises.

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Although there may come a time when Generation-Z youths and younger don’t ever learn to drive an automobile, almost all of us who have been in an autonomous vehicle, have learned to drive first. Airline pilots adopt the same approach when using autopilot functions i.e. they can all fly a plane with human analogue competency before they consider switching over to digital controls.

As Artificial Intelligence (AI) is now manifesting itself in consumer-facing applications at every conceivable level, few users will need to fully understand the ground-level mechanics of the code and data crunching that’s going on in the background to make an app ‘smart’. However, that same level of blissful detachment does not apply to software engineers, developers or programmers.

AI enters the developer zone

Software engineers need to keep this cautionary note in mind because AI-enriched programming controls are springing up fast. Although so-called ‘code completion’ advancements have been around for some time, we’re now seeing AI and Machine Learning (ML) automate many of the low-level tasks that developers would have previously shouldered and quite happily accepted as part of the ‘grunt-work’ associated with building any piece of enterprise software.

So what factors do we need to keep in mind?

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