submitted 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago) by ajsadauskas@aus.social to c/technology@lemmy.ml

In five years time, some CTO will review the mysterious outage or technical debt in their organisation.

They will unearth a mess of poorly written, poorly -documented, barely-functioning code their staff don't understand.

They will conclude that they did not actually save money by replacing human developers with LLMs.

#AI #LLM #LargeLanguageModels #WebDev #Coding #Tech #Technology @technology

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[-] zenkat@sfba.social 69 points 2 months ago

@ajsadauskas @technology lol you don't need LLMs to end up in that mess ... seen it everywhere

[-] avidamoeba@lemmy.ca 23 points 2 months ago

NGL, was totally expecting a different last paragraph. 😂

[-] notfromhere@lemmy.ml 3 points 2 months ago

One sentence a paragraph does not make.

[-] ajsadauskas@aus.social 9 points 2 months ago

@zenkat @technology Totally agree.


It's a surefire way to get yourself in that mess in rapid time, when you otherwise wouldn't.

[-] zenkat@sfba.social 20 points 2 months ago

@ajsadauskas @technology AI: do more stupid stuff faster!

[-] cford@toot.thoughtworks.com 49 points 2 months ago

@ajsadauskas @technology I agree right up to the end. I think they'll conclude they need a more powerful LLM.

[-] fluckx@lemmy.world 18 points 2 months ago

Good thing by then we'll have oracle LLM. You may only use it for writing software. But we'll definitely charge you for answering questions about life the universe and everything.

That'll be all your profit this year minus the C-level bonuses please.

Average CTO: what a steal!

[-] SkippingRelax@lemmy.world 4 points 2 months ago

And the Web interface will be that of PeopleSoft!

[-] TootSweet@lemmy.world 39 points 2 months ago

They will conclude that they did not actually save money by replacing human developers with LLMs.

The next CTO might realize that. If there hasn't been a change in upper-level management, they'll just double down and blame the few remaining human developers for the mess.

CTO's are incapable of self-reflection.

[-] Ludrol@szmer.info 24 points 2 months ago

A fellow had just been hired as the new CEO of a large high tech corporation. The CEO who was stepping down met with him privately and presented him with three numbered envelopes. "Open these if you run up against a problem you don't think you can solve," he said.

Well, things went along pretty smoothly, but six months later, sales took a downturn and he was really catching a lot of heat. About at his wit's end, he remembered the envelopes. He went to his drawer and took out the first envelope. The message read, "Blame your predecessor."

The new CEO called a press conference and tactfully laid the blame at the feet of the previous CEO. Satisfied with his comments, the press -- and Wall Street - responded positively, sales began to pick up and the problem was soon behind him.

About a year later, the company was again experiencing a slight dip in sales, combined with serious product problems. Having learned from his previous experience, the CEO quickly opened the second envelope. The message read, "Reorganize." This he did, and the company quickly rebounded.

After several consecutive profitable quarters, the company once again fell on difficult times. The CEO went to his office, closed the door and opened the third envelope.

The message said, "Prepare three envelopes."

~Stolen~ ~from~ ~reddit~

[-] jessta@aus.social 9 points 2 months ago

@TootSweet @ajsadauskas They'll just completely rewrite it from scratch using a newer LLM and that will be considered normal. In those 5yrs the percentage of developers who remember the idea of code having longevity will be tiny.

[-] NigelFrobisher@aussie.zone 26 points 2 months ago

I dunno, humans are more than capable of doing this already.

[-] FenrirIII@lemmy.world 8 points 2 months ago

Outsourcing is such a mixed bag. I have 2 projects outsourced to a company in India: one is magnificent and well documented and the other looks like a crack fiend wrote it. Both work, but only one is sustainable

[-] esc27@lemmy.world 19 points 2 months ago

I don’t disagree, but I’ve heard this before. Assembly devs complaining about compiled languages. C/c++ devs complaining about every newer language. Traditional devs complaining about web developers. Backend web developers complaining about blogs/cms tools. Nearly everyone complaining about electron.

And honestly I think those folks had a point. The old stuff written when the tools were simple and memory scarce were almost works of art. The quality of software development (especially with regard to optimization) has been going downhill for decades. What ever the llms do will just be part of this trend.

[-] jacksilver@lemmy.world 18 points 2 months ago

The use of LLMs though is more similar to outsourcing than it is to a new technology. No one is talking a out changing how we program, we're talking about changing who does the programming.

While outsourcing has had its ups and downs, I think most companies have found that skilled technical people can't really be outsourced easily/cost money everywhere. I suspect we'll see a similar thing here with LLMs because the core compentcy that makes programmers/engineers expensive is knowing what to do, not how to do it.

[-] someacnt_@lemmy.world 2 points 2 months ago

Greatly put, offloading to llms is nothing like people choosing for "easier" high-level languages. They are not really easier as well, imo.

[-] DingoBilly@lemmy.world -2 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

Yep. This is the old school way of thinking that leads to things being shitty and not improving. "Why change if it's not broke?" Cue Uber, Google, Netflix any tech company that replaced the old guards.

[-] nyan@lemmy.cafe 3 points 2 months ago

Which have all descended, or are in the process of descending, into suckitude because of business issues rather than technical ones. And trying to replace programmers with LLMs is fundamentally a business issue.

[-] DingoBilly@lemmy.world 0 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

They may be failing but they have replaced the industry so it's irrelevant.

  • Do you use Yahoo or AltaVista to search?

  • Do you still use taxis?

  • Do you use Blockbuster or subscribe to a standard cable package?

I'd wager you say no to all of them. So while the old may be right, it's irrelevant because they were still outperformed and no longer exist or are just not as competitive.

Again, people get hung up on the best or right way to do things when the reality is that's not how business works.

[-] nyan@lemmy.cafe 1 points 2 months ago

You'd lose that wager, actually—this area has at least two taxi companies but no ride shares (Uber and Lyft have very little penetration in Canada outside a few specific cities), and our household does subscribe to a standard cable TV package, although it's mostly for the benefit of my elderly mother. Those companies have not been nearly as disruptive as some people think they have.

(As for Google's search engine, I wouldn't touch it with a barge pole these days. And Yahoo and AltaVista both sucked even when they were popular—I preferred InfoSeek, back in the day.)

[-] DingoBilly@lemmy.world 0 points 2 months ago

Anecdotally sure, but for the majority of people I'd be right. And that's what matters - at a small level you'll have outliers but if you're winning the majority of the market then you will crush your competitors. Again it's irrelevant whether your code is good or efficient or replaced by llms so long as you are winning long enough to kill your competition.

[-] nyan@lemmy.cafe 1 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

Actually, what really matters is not the quality of your code or the disruptiveness of your paradigm, or whether you can outlive the competitors that existed when you started up, but whether you can keep the money coming. The rideshares in particular will fail over time in any country with labour laws that allow drivers to unionize—if the drivers make a sane amount of money, the company's profits plummet, and investors and shareholders head for the hills. Netflix is falling apart already because the corporations with large libraries of content aren't so happy to license them anymore, and they're scrambling to make up the revenue they've lost. Google will probably survive only because its real product is the scourge of humanity known as advertising.

Again, it's all business considerations, not technical ones. Remember the dot-com boom of the 1990s, or are you not old enough? A lot of what's going on right now looks like the 2.0 (3.0? 4.0?) release of the same thing. A few of these companies will survive, but more of them will fold, and in some cases their business models will go with them.

[-] DingoBilly@lemmy.world 0 points 2 months ago

I actually don't disagree with you and think we're on the same page. Basically, you can summarise our whole discussion as all companies are doomed to fail at end of day.

If you don't change and innovate you will fail.

If you change and innovate too much you will fail.

Finding the middle ground is rough and most companies will fail.

[-] delirious_owl@discuss.online 18 points 2 months ago

I think every CTO expects to inhereit technical debt, whether by overworked devs or overautomation

[-] walter_wiggles@lemmy.nz 17 points 2 months ago

They'll outsource to cheaper offshore LLMs.

[-] dfrancis@mstdn.social 16 points 2 months ago

@ajsadauskas @technology I've been thinking for a while that I truly pity anyone who's going to have to maintain this AI-generated code.

[-] veronica@mastodon.online 14 points 2 months ago
[-] spmatich@ioc.exchange 2 points 2 months ago

@veronica @ajsadauskas @technology The hype around AI in software engineering seems to be that it is ‘proven’ that devs produce code quicker. it is going to be interesting to see if the corporate world values code quality over development velocity. There seems to be a pervasive belief that “move fast and break things” is how the big guys do software engineering. A few points to note:

  1. this idiom only applies when you fail fast, realize it, and address the problem that has been introduced.
  2. Break things does not mean enshittify ie create tech debt by virtue of poor code
  3. It really only applies if you have enough development resources to do the rework. That is to say, can afford to get it wrong often.
    #AI #copilot
[-] Aurenkin@sh.itjust.works 14 points 2 months ago

I haven't seen any talk of wholesale replacement of developers with LLMs in my organisation. What has happened is that these tools have been made extensively available to developers. I think right now they are basically being assessed in terms of how much they help developer productivity. Not sure about other places though, I agree with the idea that it's not really feasible to just straight up replace devs with an LLM.

[-] Xerxos@lemmy.ml 2 points 2 months ago

Yes, they aren't there... Yet.

[-] ephemeral404@lemmy.ml 11 points 2 months ago

Not five years, but this year itself

[-] analog_cafe@mas.to 7 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

@ajsadauskas @technology A system that can’t balance brackets and is awful at math is gonna do great 👍

[-] mjf_pro@hachyderm.io 5 points 2 months ago

@ajsadauskas @technology …and they’ll find themselves lapped by those who didn’t drink the LLM Kool-Aid.

[-] BrianTheeBiscuiteer@lemmy.world 1 points 2 months ago

If quality trumped speed and convenience how does McDonald's stay in business?

[-] mjf_pro@hachyderm.io 4 points 2 months ago

@BrianTheeBiscuiteer McDonald’s actually puts a burger on the bun. Not the best, but adequate for a quick bite. General LLMs put bullshit into the ether.

[-] BrianTheeBiscuiteer@lemmy.world 1 points 2 months ago

Yes, adequate is the word. The tipping point doesn't come when they're "good", it comes when they're "good enough".

[-] ramin_hal9001@emacs.ch 3 points 2 months ago

@ajsadauskas @technology good prediction. This is basically what they always do with every overly-hyped technology.

[-] belated_frog_pants@beehaw.org 2 points 2 months ago

That happens right now and usually it was the CTO that wrote that shit when the company was a startup.

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this post was submitted on 17 Feb 2024
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