In a recent TED talk, Andy Chan spoke about AI, the revolutionary new technology that promises to transform how people across the world work and learn. We are living in a watershed moment where software like ChatGPT has evolved to a degree that it may aid our endeavors in unprecedented ways. This type of innovation has not been seen since the internet was invented, and it has the potential to reduce workload and increase productivity significantly in many aspects of human life.
Alongside these potential upsides, some have found reason for concern. Critics have expressed concerns that with its increasing sophistication, AI technology like ChatGPT may make many jobs in technology, in particular computer programming, obsolete.
While it’s true that this technology has the potential to automate tasks in a wide variety of fields, not just computer programming, it’s important to note that this does not mean that programming as a skill will become irrelevant. In fact, the opposite is true: as technology becomes more advanced, programming will become increasingly important in developing and controlling these complex systems, and jobs in all fields will increasingly require some fluency with computer science skills. This seems to be borne out by data – employment statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics project that employment in computer and IT occupations will grow 15% from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all fields.
At IMACS, we have an additional perspective on this debate, informed by our unique approach to computer science pedagogy. We understand that despite its apparent sophistication, AI technology cannot be truly creative – rather, it operates on vast amounts of human creative input from which it is able to brute-force extrapolate. Nor can a machine think flexibly – it can only execute what it has been commanded to do. While certain algorithmic, brute-force, or repetitive tasks may be able to be taken over altogether by computers, creative tasks will always require large amounts of human input.
This is where IMACS shines. Our classes have never been about teaching students the sorts of simple, repetitive, algorithmic approaches to programming that are often found in “coding classes” aimed at kids. Instead, we emphasize creativity and flexibility, encouraging students to think outside the box and teaching them the sorts of sophisticated and generalizable skills that allow them to truly innovate. This gives them a strong foundation in skills that cannot be automated.
No matter what career path a young person chooses, computer science skills are becoming increasingly foundational to most fields of study, including contributing to the field of AI itself. This technology has potential to completely change our world, but in Andy’s words, “We need humans to invent and innovate.” We couldn’t agree more. Join us in shaping the future of technology today!