She asked the kid if he wanted to do the extra coding class at school. No. I want to play outside instead. I know computers. Fine, I thought, why not. This is my job, sort of, and I think he’s on to something. He’ll have enough time to be annoyed and be ruled by computers later for the rest of his life. She then added how coding is a good job and the future. Is this still the case though I thought?
Imagine that coding sort of disappears. That the programmer population dwindles, descends into a population death spiral and it’s just LLMs that are doing our programming. Well, this is potentially already happening, and sort of quicker than expected. Scary? Well, yeah, but that’s not the point. The thing to realise is that when ChatGPT5 starts feeding off of ChatGPT4, the code will get probably worse and worse and worse? Then what?
We can look at the job of software developer than as a sort of safety job, not as a production job then in the future. Knowing enough to make sure what the machine is writing is sort of working sufficiently enough and then being able to fix it when it’s not. To be able to see what’s happening and most importantly, understand how it put it together, without necessarily doing it themselves, and then being able to fix it. Or tell the machine how to fix it. It is a bit like, and wait for the painfully stretched metaphor, an architect. They might know in general how a building doesn’t fall down, or what the cement is actually made out of or how it’s put together, but they don’t know or even understand every detail. How the floor beams are actually welded and why and how when done thousands of times in a certain place and time will do a certain a thing. So maybe coding won’t be a good job, but understanding it just still might be.