Is Devin coming for an engineer’s job? New AI software engineer can write, debug and deploy code – Moneycontrol

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Experts believe AI is a powerful tool for routine tasks, freeing human engineers to tackle complex problems, innovate, and continuously develop new skills to stay relevant in the booming AI landscape.

US-based AI start-up Cognition’s release of Devin, touted as the world’s first AI software engineer, could significantly drive-up software productivity, according to technology CEOs and HR experts. But this does not mean the role of a human software developer will completely go away.

Software productivity will go up

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“Clearly Code Gen technologies will impact software productivity in a significant manner. And hence the very near future all software development is going to be augmented software development,” Rajan Kohli, CEO, CitiusTech said, adding that the degree of complexity involved in enterprise software and its uniqueness to enterprise context means generating the next line of code alone is not sufficient, doing so in a manner that it works for the enterprise means that software developers will be needed.

“I see these capabilities shifting the productivity needle to allow for our clients to be more innovative and get more of their backlog progressed and reduce the Tech debt that they carry,” Kohli added.

Cognition’s Devin promises to revolutionise the way code is written, debugged, and deployed. The AI assistant is being hailed as the world’s first AI of its kind because it can take a simple prompt and turn it into a functioning website or software programme.

Also read: Meet Devin, the world’s first AI software engineer that writes, debugs, and deploys code

Same old, same old?

“This is not very surprising… it’s been actually happening in different forms and formats earlier itself. Developers themselves were using tools, which would, recommend solutions and pre-packaged libraries,” said Prasadh MS, Workforce Research & Communication Specialist at Xpheno, told Moneycontrol.

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Prasadh elaborated that programmers are of three types: basic, mid and advanced level coders. The challenge would come if a software such as Devin, are able to replace the high-cognitive problem solving. “But it may take some more time… from an impact point, it will not have a huge dent in the workforce, because there are other related domains where development decisions have to be continued,” Prasadh said.

Moreover, experts unanimously agree that while Devin’s capabilities may represent a significant leap forward in automation, it’s not entirely unprecedented. They said GitHub Co-pilot, Amazon Code Whisperer, and Tabnine may not exactly do what Devin can, but it is also not a revolution within itself.

Rituparna Chakraborty is cofounder, TeamLease Services, echoes a similar sentiment, saying the trend of code “templatization” and automation has been ongoing for some time. “Devin is just another example of that, the fact that they are trying to do “humification” of that particular software, it’s probably going to hit us disproportionately harder, but it’s finally a software at the end of the day.”

The new wave of enhanced software services are coming at a time when there are apprehensions that AI will replace jobs. Although, industry, academia, and experts are heavily divided on the subject.

However, what’s unique with Devin is that it does enhance the capabilities of engineers by automating certain tasks and streamlining the development process, said Aman Mittal, vice president, Lovely Professional University. Examples of such processes are designing complex architectures, developing novel algorithms, and ensuring ethical and responsible AI implementation.

The human touch

Sriram Rajagopal, managing partner at talent sourcing firm Diamondpick, believes that Devin and other similar software’s cannot produce complex codes. He said Cognition, might be positioning Devin that way, but if one were to ask engineers, they would say this is far from industry enterprise-grade code software producer.

“Everyone will have some sort of uniqueness to position themselves in the market to make it sellable. They may be good too and this area of work is rapidly advancing, but it won’t eliminate jobs at scale,” Rajagopal said.

Experts said in unison that AI is a strong tool which can be used for mundane tasks, human engineers can address the more complex issues and prioritise innovation. They say software engineers can’t be oblivious to the intensifying growth of AI globally and must arm themselves with the most recent skills. “As we slowly embrace AI, continuous learning is paramount, only then the balance between human creativity and machine efficiency will unlock a brighter future,” said Anil Agarwal, CEO and cofounder of recruiting firm InCruiter.

The Indian IT industry is one of the biggest recruiters in the private sector and employs half a million people.

Devin’s differentiator

Devin is a software development assistant that surpasses mere code completion and suggestions. Unlike large language models (LLMs) such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT or Google’s Gemini, Devin can autonomously handle the entire process of building and launching full-fledged software applications.

Also read: What powers ChatGPT and Bard? A look at LLMs or large language models

Equipped with its own command line, code editor, and browser, Devin operates independently, systematically implementing software by breaking down tasks step by step. It can plan and execute complex engineering projects, involving thousands of decisions. It learns from its experiences, recalls relevant context, and even fixes its own mistakes.

Devin’s all-star founding team

Founded by Scott Wu, Steven Hao, and Walden Yan, the AI startup has raised $21 million in a Series A funding round led by Peter Thiel’s venture capital firm Founders Fund. Other investors include former Twitter executive Elad Gil, VC firm Conviction founder Sarah Guo, among others.

The 10-member founding team, all of whom hold gold medals from the International Olympiad for Informatics, have worked at the cutting edge of applied AI with companies like Cursor, Scale AI, Lunchclub, Modal, Google DeepMind, Waymo, and Nuro.

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