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Thomas Hansen
Thomas Hansen

Posted on • Originally published at

Why AI will never take your job

According to research conducted in the subject the last 5 months, 300 million jobs will be changed by AI the next 18 months. This number is the exact same number as the amount of people using a computer at work. This implies that every single human being that is using a computer today in his or her work, will inevitably have their job drastically change as a consequence of stuff like ChatGPT and other similar technologies.

My role is similar to Stanley Kubrick's role related to the atomic bomb in these regards, so let me paraphrase my favourite Kubrick quote from my favourite Kubrick movie to ease things down a bit, before everybody enters a full state of panick, running around like headless chickens, believing the end of the world is near.

How I learned to stop worrying and love the AI

What are you worth?

The first time I understood my own value was in 2001. This was my first job as a software developer, and I was working for an ERP company. The CTO's wife who was working with support had spent 2 days updating her CRM. The CRM system had 2,500 customers, and every single customer in the CRM system had to have a single record changed from some "xyx" value to some "qwe" value. I can't remember the exact semantics of the problem, but the CTO's wife had literally spent 2 full working days trying to update all clients, and she'd made it to client number 250. Only 2,250 clients remaining, implying she'd need another 18 days to finish her job.

Somebody had given her a tip to contact software development, to ask for help after having almost had a nervous breakdown manually applying the required changes. I was a junior software developer at that time, but I knew our CRM system was based upon some SQL database, so I asked my CTO to give me access to it. One simple SQL statement later, and the problem was solved.

update accounts set field_1 = 'qwe'
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The poor girl almost collapsed in front of me as I told her; "Finished!" some 5 seconds later. In 5 minutes I had done what she would have needed 20 days to complete. This experience had a profound effect on me. Maybe this is why I am one of few software developers who actually understands the economy of software development?

You're paying for the years

Another story from before my time, was back in the mid 1980s. A company had a $50,000 hard disc jammed. The entire company was in a lock down, and nobody could work, because nobody had access to the data they needed to do their job. 50 people sitting on their thumbs doing nothing. This was a situation that in some few days could have brought the company to bankruptcy.

Some consultant from IBM came and asked what the problem was. After they had explained the problem, the consultant opened his toolbox and found a small hammer, and carefully nudged it to the side of the hard disc. 5 seconds later, the disc started spinning, and all employees were able to start working again.

A week later they got an invoice from IBM saying $1,800. This was 40 years ago, when you could by a new car for $1,800. Naturally the CEO asked the consultant how he could have the odacity to send an invoice for $1,800 for a 5 minute job. The consultant answered the following.

It was a 5 minute job, but it took me 20 years to understand where to use my hammer, what hammer to use, and how hard to use it. You're paying for the years, not the minutes!

What's YOUR value?

I can use Magic, point it at a database, click a button, and 5 minutes later I have produced 500,000 lines of code. Does this imply I'm the only software developer on the planet with a job? Nope! Regardless of that I can literally do in 5 seconds what 25 (other) software developers would need 10 years to do, most other software developers still have a job. The reasons are easily understood once you think about it ...

They know where to knock!

The point?

The hammer is the AI, you are the IBM consultant, and your employer is the CEO paying the $1,800 invoice. It's really that simple - Nothing changes really. Think of the AI as a "better hammer" making you faster doing whatever job you're already doing, and you'll be just fine. One of my favourite quotes from the Bible is as follows.

Nothing new under the sun

If you think about it, we've seen "the AI" a million of times before, and you still have a job - Unless you're a schmuck of course - At which point nothing can save you anyways 😁

AI will not replace people. People with AI will replace people without AI however, because it's a "better hammer"

Let's finish this article with some perspective 😅

Top comments (12)

hlexnc profile image

AI won't take your job, but 5 devs are going to be replace by 1 dev + AI 😅. I am only upset that most university programs are going to be on Artificial Intelegence and Data Science, no more Computer Science ðŸŠĶ

polterguy profile image
Thomas Hansen

Hahaha :D

marcelorafaelfeil profile image
Marcelo Rafael • Edited

Thanks for you article.

I think that with the AI some roles can disappear and it's normal in the technological advancement. But at same time some roles disappear, new roles are created. As you said: "Nothing new under the sun". We started this game aware that we need to keep a studying routine and being informed about new technologies.

polterguy profile image
Thomas Hansen

Word :)

logofile profile image
David Castro

Before the widespread proliferation of large-scale, industrial weaving machines, weavers made really, really good money and wielded a lot of power. They would wear the equivalent of a $50 bill in the brim of their hat just to show how wealthy they were.

When industrial production came along, the Luddites (groups of weavers led by a fellow weaver named Ned Ludd) went on a rampage and destroyed equipment that they saw replacing them and reducing their power and income.

Are there any parallels between software engineers of today and the Luddites of the early 1800s?

go4webdev profile image

Yes. Fear of losing your job...

polterguy profile image
Thomas Hansen

Wow, thx for the history lesson. As to your question, I have no idea, but we've seen the same thing happen a bajillion times. The printing press anyone ...? ;)

cppshane profile image
Shane Duffy

This is really well put. Not that I wasn't already aware of this, but I wasn't exactly sure how to verbalize it.

You're paying for the years, not the minutes!

I love that

polterguy profile image
Thomas Hansen

Thx mate :)

mjoycemilburn profile image
MartinJ • Edited

Can chatGPT use a hammer as well as fix my code then? Must check that one out - I've got a staircase to build

polterguy profile image
Thomas Hansen

Hahahaha :D

arianygard profile image

This is kind of when book printing was new - everyone thought they'd lose their jobs but it actually created a lot of new jobs, just made a couple of the old (tedious) jobs slightly obsolete.