ChatGPT. Am I unemployed now?

I was talking to a friend who was worried about ChatGPT. “Am I unemployed now?” E.g. “Will AI replace my job as a programmer?” I grant my reply is quite a hot take, and history will definitely decide if I was wrong. tl;dr: I’m not worried.

ChatGPT is intriguing. Like GitHub CoPilot and, Amazon CodeWhisperer and similar tools, I think it’ll take a lot of the toil out of building code. But I don’t think it’ll replace the craftsman. I think there’ll always be a spot at the top for those designing, coordinating, and polishing great works.

We could make similar analogies at how the hosting world has changed. We used to talk about the server under my desk, then the co-lo companies, then we all got VMs from a web host, and now we have clouds with utility billing and instant provisioning. The toil got easier, there was a lower barrier to entry, and hosting got cheaper. But always on, high-availability, low-latency, quality online property management is still a high-tech, high-skill business.

ChatGPT is entertaining and will be useful, but I don’t think the sky is falling.

(Prologue: A co-worker got ChatGPT to write a marketing email, and after reflecting on it for a time, threw it away and wrote a new one. There’s also no shortage of concerns about data privacy and ethics in AI-generated content which I’ve completely ignored here.)