Development, AI, Dinosaurs… and my father

We are almost at the end of the year 2023 – a special time of the year, summarizing the past year and also planning the new one.

So let me tell you Christmas story

Sometimes we refer to people who started in the good old Navision days (or NAV) as dinosaurs. But if you compare those people to my father, who is almost 80, I would say they are even not babies. He is a journalist, who started in times when the typewriter was a luxury – in fact first article written by him was published in 1962 (I bet some of the people whom we call dinosaurs were even not born).

And guess what? He is still in the business – even more, together with my mother (also not so young I would say) they have a small publishing house that once per month publishes 3 newspapers. They not only write the articles, do the desktop publishing but they even distribute the newspapers to local stores. All only by themselves.

Is he a dinosaur? Defiantly not. But how?

When we spoke on Christmas Eve dinner we talked about how AI can handle writing the articles. My father did not believe me – he said the computer could not write the texts. So I gave him a small example on my phone. He read it and said – ok let’s try.

The next day we sat together and I showed him Chat GPT. He took the short note that he got from one of the press officers – just 2 sentences (almost nothing there), and asked to write the whole article for a full page about it. I will tell you, he was quite impressed with the results. He said that it would save him a lot of time.

Of course, he did not treat it as a finished article – but just as a help in his daily work. He now can adjust it and change things.

Copilot and our future

Even though I am a huge fan of the GitHub Copilot, I still think there are a lot of unknowns and worries when using AI tools. That is normal with any change and new technology. There are moral, legal, and social aspects that should be taken into consideration.

The first time when Microsoft showed GitHub Copilot during Directions NA I heard in the back from the audience

Now everyone can be a developer

and the CEO of a big company asked me if it was time to start firing or at least stop hiring the developers. Hard question you admit. I would say definitely no. But I see the catch-22 here.

On one side I am saying that

Copilot is like a junior developer sitting next to me, and I can just instead of give the work to junior developers I can just give it to Copilot – it is even faster.

So do I need junior developers?

But as a company owner, I also need to think about who will do the job in a few years when the senior developers will retire, change jobs, or change roles. It means I need junior developers who will replace them.

You are responsible for the code.

I think this is the most important part. One of my friends says

From a good developer, Copilot will to a better developer. From bad developer, it will take it even worse one

I agree with him 100%. Remember the copilot is a help not a tool to replace you thinking about what should be done and how.

In the end, you are fully responsible for the code and all the good and bad things that it will do after publishing it to production.

Are you a dinosaur?

I must say I am using more and more Copilot for my daily work. It helps me a lot. How much? I am not sure yet. But I am sure my productivity increased moreover the code is more readable and better due to more documentation and structure and even I started to do commits much more often and with better descriptions.

I am trying to tell that also to my friends but from time to time I hear:

OK use it and when it is better we will start using it.

That’s why I thought about my dad. That is not age that determines if someone is a dinosaur or not. But the way how we work. And that is normal that everyone is skeptical at first – as my father. But I bet when you start using it you will see a lot of benefits in daily developer life. However, I believe that not only GitHub Copilot but also other tools such as Chat GTP can boost our productivity. For example, preparing demo data.

So if you not using the tools that can help you (AI to be honest is just one of them) and you have just 2 years of experience think if you are not (already) a dinosaur.

PS. The content of this post is not AI generated (but maybe it could) however this image above is.

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