BLOG The Rise of AI in Software Development
David Schmid
  • Author: David Schmid
  • Date: 03.01.2024 Last Update: 05.03.2024, 10:14
  • Categories: AI, Software Development

The world of programming has been profoundly transformed since the introduction of ChatGPT in 2023. The integration of its language model into a text-chat interface has opened up new horizons for developers. AI-driven tools like ChatGPT are now integral in developing complex software systems. However, AI has its limits and the human oversight remains crucial.

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Table of Contents

The Birth and Evolution of AI

With the development of programmable computers in the 1940s, the concept of "thinking machines" transitioned from science fiction to reality. Alan Turing was the first person to carry out substantial research in the field that he called "Machine Intelligence". The term "Artificial Intelligence" itself was officially introduced by John McCarthy in 1956 during the Dartmouth Workshop, a pivotal event that marked the formal inception of AI as an academic discipline.

However, the initial optimism of the 1950s and 1960s faced setbacks due to the complexity of AI goals like natural language processing and abstract thinking, leading to periods known as "AI winters".

Driven by advancements in computational power, machine learning algorithms and the availability of vast data sets, the last two decades have seen exponential growth in the field, marked by significant improvements in AI capabilities.

AI Advancements in 2023

The year 2023 is regarded as a groundbreaking year for artificial intelligence. OpenAI's release of ChatGPT represents a significant achievement by integrating their GPT language model with a text-chat interface used daily by billions of people.

AI Chat Image

This exciting shift in AI models is opening up new opportunities for industries to innovate, optimize, and grow. Beyond OpenAI's ChatGPT, several other developments and models have captured attention in the industry, such as Google Bard and Meta's Llama language models.

However, implementing generative AI models comes with its own set of challenges, such as identifying the right data, budget requirements, data privacy, and hiring the right people. Furthermore, the integration of these models into existing systems can be complex, requiring substantial technical expertise and resources.

AI in Modern Software Development

Prior to the advent of AI, the role of developers in software engineering was already evolving due to the extensive libraries and platforms like GitHub and Stack Overflow, which provide millions of code examples for almost every programming task. As a result, developers increasingly find themselves less likely to solve problems from scratch.

Extensive training of large language models on existing code bases has further transformed this evolution. They can now automatically translate requirements stated in natural language into code.

AI Brain Data Image

A notable development in this field is the introduction of GitHub Copilot by Microsoft's subsidiary GitHub, in collaboration with OpenAI. It analyzes comments and existing code to suggest individual lines of code or complete functions, effectively acting as an AI pair programmer.

There are several noteworthy alternatives to Codepilot that offer diverse functionalities for different programming needs. These include Tabnine that provides a code completion funcionality for the most popular IDEs, JetBrains AI Assistant providing AI-assisted coding features for JetBrains IDEs and available plugins for editors like Neovim.

Limits of AI in Coding

The AI assistants are valuable tools for developers. However, they are not without limitations. The code generated is not always perfect and developers are adviced to carefully review the suggested code.

At present, relying solely on AI for complete project development is not advisable. My experience with several projects indicates that relying entirely on AI leads to subpar results. This underscores the notion that AI is a helpful tool but not a standalone solution for development tasks.

The path towards an AI capable of reliably generating high-quality code for any programming task is still a long one. However, in specialized areas, AI-based code generation is already making impressive strides.

As for the concern, that AI might soon render human software developers obsolete, this is far from reality. The role of human developers remains crucial, as they bring a level of understanding, creativity and problem-solving ability that AI has yet to match.

Further Integrating AI into Coding

AI offers a multitude of ways to be integrated into software engineering. Some key applications include:

Besides the mentioned use cases above, the author of this article has also developed a tool called SmartCommit, designed to (semi-)automate the process of generating git commit messages, improving the final step of the software development process.

Ethical Concerns and EU AI Act

Alongside the rise of AI, various ethical concerns emerged, ranging from issues of bias and discrimination in AI training data, to challenges surrounding privacy, transparency, societal impact, transparency and explainability.

AI Ethics and Law

The European Union's Artificial Intelligence (EU AI Act) is a legislative proposal that tries to regulate the development, deployment and use of AI across EU member states and addresses several ethical concerns. This includes a prohibition of certain AI practices deemed unacceptable, such as systems that manipulate human behavior or implement social scoring for surveillance purposes. The Act categorizes AI systems into four risk levels: unacceptable risk, high risk, limited risk, and minimal risk, with regulatory requirements varying accordingly.

However, the EU AI Act has been subject to various criticisms itself, potentially stifling innovation and leading to legal uncertainty.


In conclusion, the integration of AI in software development has undoubtedly reshaped the landscape of programming, bringing with it both advancements and challenges. AI excels in tasks like code review, bug detection, and documentation. But it is not a silver bullet. The inherently creative and critical aspects of programming remain under human direction.

The future of programming with AI appears promising but remains a work in progress. As developers, we should utilize the AI-based tools, but we must also stay alert to their boundaries and ethical implications. By doing so, we can ensure that AI continues to be a valuable tool in our toolkit. It is a journey of continuous learning, adaptation, and responsible use.

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