AI and Software Development – Part 1

On August 31, 2017, while most of us were looking forward the arrival of the dog days of summer, the most fundamental advancement in Artificial Intelligence (AI) slipped onto the Internet and under the radar of nearly everyone. On that sleepy Thursday, Google published a white paper with the academic title Transformer: A Novel Neural Network Architecture for Language Understanding. A document that, in hindsight, might turn out to be the precursor of AGI – Artificial General Intelligence. The dawn of Homo Sapiens 2.0. A technology that, on November 20, 2022, would stun the world with release of ChatGPT 3.0.

ChatGPT 3.0 (the ‘T’ in the name meaning Transformer) turned out to be, pun intended, transformative regarding natural language processing (NLP). Suddenly, with a few lines of text, anyone could write a poem, complete a complex essay for high school and write reams of computer code in over a dozen languages, including my latest favourite – SwiftUI.

Four months later, ChatGPT 4.0 was released. An NLP that was an order of magnitude more powerful than its version 3.5 predecessor. A version that could pass the US bar exam and write a novels in a day. And, importantly to me, one that had the skill of an entry-level software developer to that of a seasoned veteran.

After 45 years of software development, I saw my career ending. Or was it? Did the development of the application program interface (API) design pattern end my career? No. It made it more accessible. Did the development of reactive programming languages such as SwiftUI crush my career as a UX designer? No. It made it infinitely more enjoyable. The evolution of the software development industry is no stranger to things getting more accessible and reliable. And while the arrival of ChatGPT and its code-writing skills stunned me, I knew this was just another moment of technical evolution.

It was time to see for me, and perhaps you, just how good ChatGPT 4.0 was for writing SwiftUI applications.

What follows will be a series of blog posts on my first crack at using ChatGPT 4.0 to create a simple but flashy SwiftUI application. The experience was, to be honest, stunning. In just an hour, I completed what even just a year ago would have taken me an entire week.

Published by Douglas J Farmer

I'm a freelance developer of Apple ecosystem apps including the iPhone, iPad and Mac.

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