What Are You Going To Do When AI Steals Your Job?

twitter logo github logo ・1 min read

I am reliably informed that one day soon, programmers will be obsolete. All the hard work you've put in will be for nil, as people with big ideas (Instagram for podiatrists) will be able to dictate their required features into an app and, through The Power Of AI, out comes the finished product. No programmer required. Sorry. Bye.

For the programmers here: what would you be doing if writing code was no longer an option? I think I'd like to work outdoors.

twitter logo DISCUSS (31)
markdown guide

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy lead me to believe that think programmers will be among the first against the wall when the AI revolution comes.

Assuming I survive that, then perhaps a professional dog walker.


A gardener. I kinda want to be one when I'm a bit older anyway. Have my own little plant shop and stuff, something relax :3

But I need to learn how to not kill my plants first, which ironically, orchids don't die with me. You know, the really hard to care plants? but cactus do! The super easy newbie friendly plants doooo. hahaha


I wish I had your orchid skills. There isn't a plant on this green earth that I can't kill. I want to get a snake plant, as they are apparently very hardy, but...

Death will find a way.


Well, I'm currently in a very dry place, so I decided to try semi water culture with my orchids and they THRIVE, they give me roots in the first few weeks like crazy! The best part is that you can let them be for a while. I'm currently going to study how to fertilize them so they can start blooming. I suggest you read up on it and see if it helps you out :3

And good luck with the snake plant! I'm sure you'll break the spell with it :D


cough I just purchased three snake plants and many succulents. The snake plants are just sitting around with mostly just the kitchen lights and a lamp in the living room to give them light and... they're thriving!


Well, web development is my fourth career so I could always go back to working in a laboratory or cooking (forestry work is too hard now that I'm older) but... I think I'd try to kick my art hobby up a notch. Then give Chuck Tingle a run for his money by writing very silly books for adults.


I've read those "reliable sources," and consider them to be hilariously over-ambitious. We've yet to replicate anything even resembling actual consciousness and imagination in code. All apparent strides in that area are smoke-and-mirror tricks accomplished with rigid, traditional programming structures (conditionals, neural networks, etc.) AI is incredible, but I can safely say it will never, ever replace human ingenuity. If you believe the breathless reports it will, I've got a bridge to sell you. ;-)

But I digress. If I couldn't be a programmer, I'd still be a writer, songwriter/musician, and stand-up comedian. But, since none of those are likely to replace a full-time job properly, I'd probably become an independent toymaker and board game designer.


When I was exploring career options in high school in the late 90s, I regrettably didn't pursue computer science because I listened to these arguments:

  1. "you have to like/be good at math" (not so much)
  2. "all of those jobs will be outsourced to India soon" (nope)
  3. "programming will disappear/be automated some day"

20 years later, argument #3 is still being made without noteworthy progress.

After I stumbled into this line of work at a bank, I encountered lots of low code/no code tools. Many of them even advertise "you don't need a programmer to make apps!" That sounds pretty good to execs & managers who love paying for software more than paying developer salaries; they'll often pick up a license for some project or get swayed on a sales call. In every instance I saw, a programmer was eventually assigned to the thing.

Why? My impressions:

  • Specifying what software should do is a fundamentally creative act - the same results won't be achieved by reducing it to some rote activity - and not everyone wants to do that kind of work, the debugging/refinement process in particular.
  • The PWBIs, to use your term ;), are never happy when some app-generator tool has limitations that conflict with their vision. In code, you can do just about anything.
  • Communicating a spec (whether to a person or machine) is a skill not everyone has (or wants to improve, seemingly). I've worked for people who requested a feature they couldn't have, or actually needed its opposite, and it was only my relationship with them as an individual that enabled me to counter the request.

As machine learning improves, I think our tools will get smarter. Maybe the process will change. What we consider an app will likely be different (Alexa skills!). I expect the job itself will stick around as long as the need for software customization exists.

In case we do get real AI, not just sophisticated pattern matching? There's always politics.


It's not going to happen for several years.

In fact, the reverse is true, the current interest in clever machines will give us code pushers a great opportunity

Tomorrow's blog post will be about this


We already have things like this. They are called low-code platforms. Except replace speech with mouse clicks and a little typing.

It still doesn't create as good of software as a team of programmers with creativity and human empathy. Because software is ultimately used by humans.


Changes are imminent and by then I'll have found something even more advanced to do than just write code. But I cannot also help but think that but then I'll have retired already.


I'd probably go back to my other day job as an assassin.

You may think that sounds terrible, but I don't go after humans. Sadly I'm not legally allowed to say what I do hunt, unless I'm in Texas.


Make it so that doesn’t happen. Machine learning is a plague on this planet in more ways than just the possibilities of AI and it needs to be stopped.


This sounds like a whole 'nother dev.to post, but I like this answer.


Thanks, I just added it to my drafts. I'll try to gather some sources and see what I can put together.


I'd generate an app that generates big ideas for apps. Then I'd sit back and relax.


I'm not too worried about it. Part of being a programmer is the ability to assess a situation and adapt. I'm sure I'll figure something else out.


I'll feed an AI machine the story of my life and let it decide what I am supposed to do.


If I had known "actual ninja" was a choice, I wouldn't be over here slinging code like a chump. 🐱‍👤


I'd be either a 🌳nature turist guide🌳 or a 🍝chef🍛


I always wanted to be a forest ranger when I grew up. Bit of a tricky one when you live in a massive city.


The day devs won't be needed anymore is the day jobs will disappear.
We'll be the last ones.

Then we'll hunt our AI overlords. Fun times ahead!


I don't believe I will be alive when AI takes over programming for various reasons but let's say it does happen I would love to be a marine biologist

Classic DEV Post from Jul 30

Save the planet, clean your mailbox

James profile image
web developer, rubyist, friend