Given the rising demand for new and improved software at break-neck speed, organizations must adopt AI-augmented software development to meet modern business demands.
Saurabh Banerjee, Senior Business Analyst, Nupur Avantika, VP of Digital Learning/Digital Experience, and Gustavo Romero Sanchez, Principal DevOps Engineer, are some of the experts who presented their unique perspectives and thought leadership on the top 10 technology trends shaping the next generation of technology. All three spoke to us about AI-augmented software development, a game-changing trend that will help organizations meet the pace and quality demanded of software solutions of today and tomorrow.
What is AI-augmented software development and what are its uses?
AI has existed for quite a while, but it wasn’t until 1955 that John McCarthy coined1 the term “artificial intelligence” to describe computer systems that can perform tasks that usually need human intelligence, including speech recognition, language processing, translation, visual perception, and more.
Nowadays, it’s frequent to experience clear examples of how AI improves our lives. We are no longer surprised to hear of a computer beating a human at a chess game or solving a complex math problem. Almost every day, we read about new AI innovations, such as predictive analytics, AI-driven cybersecurity, digital avatars, creative AI, the metaverse, low-code & no-code AI, autonomous vehicles, and more. There’s no limit to AI; it feels like we haven’t tapped into its full potential.
Cue AI-augmented software development, the game-changing trend in IT. AI-augmented software development is a new method for creating software that uses machine learning and AI to speed up delivery, improve quality, and automate repetitive tasks. It's a way of building more effective, reliable, and effortless software solutions that meet and exceed modern demands.
In the next few years, AI will be the most important area of software development. Companies like Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft are already using it to improve their products and services. AI-augmented software development will keep growing, and it's crucial to leverage its benefits to stay ahead of the curve and earn competitive advantages as it speeds up the process of making software for everyday use.
Why is AI-augmented software development a trend that will shape business in 2023?
AI-augmented software development will continue to be relevant in the coming years, expanding its reach and transforming the way companies accelerate digital transformation efforts. Next, let’s break down the primary factors driving increased AI-augmented adoption.
First, AI-augmented software development is a field of constant change and evolution. As more companies use AI to improve their products and services, they will have to keep changing their processes to keep up with the latest innovations in the field.
Second, we can expect AI-augmented software development to disrupt the IT industry in 2023 because it makes it easier than ever for businesses to perform specific tasks. For example, if you needed to create a new website for your business, you used to have to hire people to do most of the work. Now, with the AI-augmented software development process, a business can mostly create a website independently with little human help. This saves time and money, which means fewer costs for the business and more savings.
Third, AI-augmented software development has already transformed sectors like digital commerce, marketing, and product management by making it easier to make quick decisions.
What makes AI-augmented software development different from traditional enterprise application development?
Think of AI-augmented software development like application development "on steroids." It improves the experience for everyone on the software team; whether you're a programmer, an IT administrator, a security analyst, or a quality assurance (QA) engineer, you'll find that AI-augmented tooling and frameworks help you work faster, and with better results.
The primary distinction between AI-augmented and traditional software development is the amount of time saved by sticking to tried-and-true methods vs. using sophisticated AI/ML models to address previously thought to be human-only issues. Software development with the help of artificial intelligence can be a great asset because it can offer insights that humans might lack.
Can you speak about your experience with AI-augmented software development?
I recently worked on a project that used what you might consider an old Java framework. This framework was used as the core code for the application’s microservices architecture. The engineering team only had one expert who knew how to do code reviews in this old framework, complicating the quick release of features as the business required.
We could add automated code reviews into the CI/CD pipelines using software tools enhanced with AI. This made delivering software faster as we leveraged the tool's recommendations based on machine learning and automation. This enabled us to focus on improving the code instead of manually looking for issues and bugs and often giving dozens of code reviews to a single person.
In your experience, where do clients stand on the topic?
In 2023, the financial services, healthcare, tourism, and commerce sectors will all see significant increases in the creation of software enhanced by artificial intelligence. Most Fortune 500 companies are already making ML-related investments, yet, in stark contrast, we can expect a significant skill shortage of AI engineers in 2023.
Historically, the following roles have shown high demand in the AI field:
- Application Architect
- Machine Learning Engineer
- Data Engineer
- Enterprise Architect
Financial services, manufacturing, insurance, marketing, and other service industries can benefit from Data Science and hyper-automation, which are essential for actionable analytics that directly impact a company's bottom line.
Here are some of the most promising, cutting-edge technologies headed in that direction:
- Robot-assisted process automation (RPA)
- Artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML)
- Cognitive process automation (AI-augmented Design)
- Correct Process Management Software (iBPMS)
How will AI-augmented software development impact software & digital product engineering?
Digital Product Engineering (DPE) and AI-augmented software are a perfect pairing. The goal of DPE is to add new technology to traditional software development stacks, whereas modern DPE best practices rely on AI to speed up innovation and lower operational costs.
Can you provide real-world examples of how organizations are benefiting from AI-augmented software development today?
AI-augmented software development is helping organizations of all shapes and sizes. There are different use cases, but here are the most prominent ones:
- AI-augmented software testing is a key driver because it propels test automation to the next level. You can use AI/ML to keep UI functional tests up to date, which is an actual use case that is possible now
- AI-powered code reviews help automate the code review process using machine learning and automated reasoning. It has the prowess to do this across millions of code reviews on thousands of open-source repositories, suggesting ways to improve code quality and security
Who stands to benefit from AI-augmented software development the most?
While there's not a black-and white answer to this question, for brevity's sake, the answer is everyone.
As a business owner, you may employ AI-augmented software development to make innovative products and services tailored to your client’s specific needs. If you’re an employee, adopting AI-augmented software development will mean working in a more efficient setting with less repetitive tasks—allowing you to focus on high-value activities instead of low-value ones such as data entry and analysis.
The fact is many people have something to gain from developing software that AI enhances. It's becoming increasingly apparent that this technology will be crucial for all organizations, not just software developers, to compete in the modern market. It’s been continuously established that AI can perform numerous tasks at a higher quality level than humans.
AI can build computer programs from scratch, compose musicals, produce literary work, and more. What if these abilities are used to develop superior programs?
Companies that invest in AI-augmented software development will likely see positive returns. However, there is always another side to every coin. Even if there may be benefits for businesses, there may also be risks, specifically in cybersecurity, that need to be considered before implementing software development boosted by artificial intelligence.
How does AI-augmented software development fit into larger IT and business initiatives?
AI-enhanced software development fits naturally into larger IT/business projects, including:
- Time savings: When AI is used to automate simple reasoning tasks that would usually be done manually, the time it takes engineers to do those tasks automatically goes down
- Increased productivity: The use of AI to improve human decision-making can make employees more productive. This productivity gain can come from being more effective and efficient or making better decisions
- Higher revenue: AI-augmented services can offer new ones that attract more customers and make them more willing to pay more
What does AI-augmented software development mean for privacy and compliance?
As of today, this is a gray area, especially regarding code and automated recommendations on existing code. The use case for AI-augmented software recommendations for existing code can lead to legal conflicts that look like open-source code but already exist under a license that prevents it from being reused.
In the next few years, we can expect the AI-augmented offering to improve, which should also clarify these legal implications and set a standard that the open-source community and the industry can agree on.
We sincerely thank Saurabh Banerjee, Senior Business Analyst, Nupur Avantika, VP of Digital Learning/Digital Experience, and Gustavo Romero Sanchez, Principal DevOps Engineer. The focus of this piece, AI-augmented software, is one of ten technology trends featured in Encora’s 2023 Technology Trends report. You can read the report in its entirety by visiting Encora’s 2023 Technology Trends.
“Although AI and ML are still considered relatively immature technologies, the push for AI-augmented software development is too great to overlook. Applying AI and ML principles to complex development tasks will completely disrupt the traditional way of doing things, driving innovation and the overall development lifecycle forward.”
Gustavo Romero Sanchez, Principal DevOps Engineer
- Stanford University, Artificial Intelligence Definitions
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