Artificial Intelligence is attracting a lot of attention at the moment with a broad range of different views being expressed regarding its potential benefits and risks. The app development world, like many other areas, is already impacted by AI so we decided to ask one of our app developers, Damian Wojtczak, for his perspective on the current and future consequences of AI.

Damian, why has AI recently become such a hot topic?
Well, Artificial Intelligence in one form or another has been developed and used for many years but AI’s capabilities have increased more in the last 18 months than in the previous 10 years. In particular the launch of ChatGPT Version 3 marked a step change in AI useability principally driven by improvements in Language Processing capabilities generating huge excitement (some might say hype) about AI’s benefits and uses.
While ChatGPT is the most well-known AI there are many other systems being used to interpret and deliver human requirements. ‘Sora’ is an AI system capable of creating short, realistic videos from text input, ‘Midjourney’ creates photo-realistic images based on text input and an Adobe add-on, Firefly enables graphic designers to radically adjust images.
In what sort of areas is AI being deployed?
Many companies are already integrating AI tools into business workflows. As an example ChatGPT can ‘digest’ information from an organisation’s documents which enables many call centre tasks, previously delivered by humans, to now be delivered via a chatbot.
Other roles where AI could augment, or even replace human jobs, include everything from commercial drivers when autonomous vehicles become feasible, through to actors where a director will soon find themselves able to use speech input to create realistic videos. In fact we are very close to animations which are completely AI generated.
Should we be worried about AI?
Of course there have been existential concerns about AI replacing humans as the dominant intelligence on the planet for many years. However, I believe that this is still some way off becoming a real concern and therefore not too scary at the moment. As I’ve already mentioned, replacing jobs is a real cause for concern. In reality I believe AI, in common with previous waves of new technology, will make some jobs redundant, others more efficient and many new previously unimagined types of jobs will be created.
What are your expectations around the impact of AI on coders and designers?
Software developer and web designer are professions where AI has the potential to dramatically increase productivity. Already web designers are using AI to rapidly generate assets thus accelerating the process of creating mock-ups for customers. Similarly coders are using AI to both help optimise code and to create small or mundane components for complex projects. AI can also be used to easily expand a program’s capabilities. For example the Tesla Autopilot system uses rules to react to driving scenarios. By using videos to train an AI based system, it is possible to quickly develop code to respond to a much wider range of driving scenarios.
Robotics is a similar area where hard coded rules may not cover all possible scenarios. An AI enabled robotics system makes it simpler to build and implement systems capable of interpreting large amounts of data inputs and responding accordingly.
However, AI is currently not powerful or flexible enough to develop complex software systems, where there is lots of logic defining rules and relationships. Perhaps in the future, coders will become akin to architects who define the questions to ask of the AI system and then determine how AI generated artifacts interact with each other.
Specifically as an app developer, where are you expecting to see changes?
I am confident that AI will be a massive help with app development. One example I envisage is AI being used to quickly make small adjustments to existing apps for customers. I can also foresee a situation, where AI is harnessed to understand and predict app user requirements, by collecting and processing user data and therefore enhancing the User Experience. AI can also potentially address privacy concerns by using ‘intelligent analytics’ without needing to access individual’s usage. All in all, AI is an exciting technology, at least from an app developer’s perspective.

Thanks for your time Damian. We will watch this space with interest.

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