Do web developers fear AI will take their job?

The discussion about the threats to web developers in the job market has recently gathered pace with the announcement of GitHub Copilot

Recent advancements in AI tools, led by the announcement of GitHub Copilot, have caused some concern about unemployment.

GitHub Copilot is an AI-based tool, that uses the vast collection of GitHub’s 128+ million repositories to artificially construct code suggesting whole lines or even entire functions in order to speed development up.

MDBootstrap.com surveyed more than 500 web developers to find out more about their thoughts on the GitHub Copilot launch, AI risks to the job market in general, and possible solutions. The company, specialising in web-dev tech like Bootstrap and Material Design, claims its MDB platform is used by more than 2 million developers and organisations to speed up web development.

 

What did the survey find? 

 

The survey revealed that web developers do indeed fear for their jobs. A majority of web developers recognise that AI is a real threat when it comes to the job market. 61.7% agreed that AI is likely to cause widespread unemployment in the web development industry.

Furthermore, 68.7% of those who believe that AI will contribute to job loss (42.4% of all) said they “strongly agree” with the statement. This was the highest score for all extreme answers in the survey, and the only matter in which an extreme opinion was more popular than all of the moderate ones. Only 8.8% strongly disagree, 12.5% disagree, and 17% being neutral.

Despite admitting that AI will eventually be problematic for the industry as a whole, web developers are optimistic about their own employment situation. When asked if they personally think that AI may eventually take their own job and limit their future web development possibilities, a staggering majority of 66.8% disagreed.

Even though web developers recognise AI as a danger, they still plan to accelerate the growth of AI-powered tools. 65.5% said that they plan to use GitHub Copilot in their work.


 

Should governments intervene with AI? 

 

The subject of institutional control regarding AI research proved to be the most divisive matter of them all with the least variance between different stances. Developers leaned against the government meddling in IT affairs with 51% of responses.

The neutral group, in this case, was 23.2%. 27.8% agreed that governments should consider introducing limits & regulations regarding AI development in order to avoid the unemployment crisis related to AI advancement.

Even though most developers are against government meddling in the matters of IT industry and introducing regulations, they proved to be in support of government aid.

70% of respondents suggested that governments should consider introducing social benefit policies (f.e. social aids, health & shelter benefits, universal basic income etc.) in order to ease the burden of industry transformation and avoid the unemployment crisis related to AI advancement.

 

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