As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to advance, workers in the technology industry are becoming increasingly anxious about the prospect of being replaced by machines. With the emergence of ChatGPT, a powerful language model developed by OpenAI, many workers have taken to anonymous networking site, Blind, to discuss whether their jobs are at risk of becoming obsolete.
Software engineers on the site have posted numerous polls and admissions about the “golden age being over,” and their fears about AI’s potential to replace them. One Microsoft engineer recently posted on Blind, saying, “Software engineering is a dying profession,” and added, “And since GPT is already great at writing its own prompts, you’re up the creek without a paddle.”
The post generated almost 500 replies, with some users arguing that the profession is still viable, while others said that almost every white-collar job is doomed. In a separate post, a Blind user created a poll asking whether young software engineers were at risk, with 41.3% of respondents answering in the affirmative.
Meanwhile, other workers expressed anxiety about the future of AI and how it would impact their jobs. Some even considered starting their careers from scratch. One Google engineer said they wondered if it was time to start their career “from the ground up again,” while an Amazon employee said they feel the craft they have been honing for 15 years is changing.
Despite tech companies investing heavily in AI, some workers remain optimistic that the technology will be beneficial to software engineers. A Microsoft worker advised, “Y’all will be just fine, treat AI as a productivity accelerator and not as an enemy. We made it, it didn’t make us.”
However, some experts predict that AI could threaten job security for software developers. Earlier this year, Semafor reported that OpenAI had begun teaching its AI software engineering, and Insider previously reported that AI advancements like ChatGPT have already begun to threaten the job security of software developers. Stability AI CEO Emad Mostaque has even predicted that there will be “no programmers in five years.”
Furthermore, tech workers are already facing massive layoffs and questioning if their high salaries are here to stay. Earlier this week, Vox reported that software engineers have been hit the hardest by the cuts, challenging the narrative that there is job security in learning to code.
In the face of these challenges, some Blind users have remained optimistic that AI will be beneficial to software engineers. One Blind poster who works at Shopify compared the “doom and gloom over ChatGPT” to the negative rhetoric around 5G, the blockchain, and Web3. Another user doubted that most companies would be advanced enough to adopt the technology. Whether AI will ultimately be a boon or a bane to the software engineering profession remains to be seen, but one thing is clear: tech workers are beginning to feel the pressure.