Artificial intelligence chatbot ChatGPT is already changing the way a local tech company is working.
ChatGPT, created by Microsoft-backed OpenAI, launched in November 2022 and has taken the tech scene by storm — it reached 100 million monthly active users in just two months, making it the fastest growing consumer application in history, according to research by UBS.
Darrin Jahnel, co-founder and CEO at software company Jahnel Group in Schenectady, said the service is already being used for coding at the firm and its swift implementation could change the structure of tech businesses.
Jahnel Group has been using Copilot, a tool from Github and OpenAI, for about a year. It offers autocomplete-style suggestions while a programmer codes. But Jahnel said ChatGPT is the next evolution of using AI to code.
ChatGPT is a large language model, meaning the AI was trained with large amounts of data to predict the next word in a sentence. ChatGPT is different from earlier chatbots in that it learned with human feedback to follow directions and create responses people find satisfactory. It can write poems, have conversations and answer encyclopedia-style questions.
In the case of software engineering, Jahnel Group employees have presented ChatGPT with coding problems and it's been able to tell them where the issue was.
"This is actually happening, real life stuff. This is for real," Jahnel said. "For internal projects, guys are literally typing out what they're trying to code, ChatGPT is spitting out fantastic code that we are then using in real software applications, our internal Jahnel Group applications. It's unbelievable."
Jahnel said the service could make teams more efficient, but it could also change software engineering jobs as we know them.
"Three years, five years ago, we used to spend most of our time writing code. I think in the future, we're going to spend most of our time checking code and testing code and working on the system. And tools are going to actually write the code. I think that that balance is going to flip," Jahnel said. "More of it's going to be checking it, testing it, making sure that what was produced is what we needed."
He thinks higher-level senior engineers will become more valuable — the ones who know how to get the most out of tools like ChatGPT — but lower-level engineers could become less valuable. Those entry-level positions are the jobs that are currently tasked with writing code, a skill that over time would lead to more advanced positions.
"There's going to be less of a need for them. In order to get to that senior level, you've got to play that role," Jahnel said.
As a result, jobs and titles could be reshaped. The AI revolution might create a new job title: prompt engineers, people who know exactly what to type into these AI tools in order to get the desired result.
And these changes could come quickly — especially in industries that quickly adopt new tools, like tech. ChatGPT has only been live for about three months.
"With some more old-school industries, it'll just take a little bit more time. The industries who are a little more resistant to change might not adapt as as quickly," Jahnel said.