The hot new technology of the year is AI. Between ChatGPT, Copilot, and generative AI, it seems that this is invading the world of computing at an incredible rate. Whether this becomes really useful and valuable or not is something that we will see over time. There have been plenty of trends in this area in the past that haven't become as ubiquitous as the hype would lead you to believe.
I've done some light experiments with AI on my blog. To date, I haven't found this to be that useful, other than a few cases where I basically used an AI to search the web for me. Rather than read a bunch of SSC or Stack Overflow results, the AI summarized things.
I definitely had to test and verify the code more than I feel I've done with code posted in a forum. Of course, I do less experimenting because the AI results were a little more targeted to what I needed, rather than my cobbling knowledge and partial solutions together. I'm also not sure which I prefer.
I would like to use AI for data work, and there is an article that talks about some of the ways that we've used AI in the past. Data profiling has made sense, and I can see value here. For data security, I'm not sure how helpful AIs have been. I've looked at some products, and I don't know that I think any of them do a great job of identifying data. They do make it easy for whoever is assigned the task by doing some of the work, but they aren't a panacea. They make mistakes, just like humans do.
I do think data observation and looking for anomalies is a place where AI can really shine, but that's not the data work that many of us do. It matters, but for most of us, this isn't something we deal with.
The future of AI was more interesting. The idea of data homogenization, taking data from different sources, and fitting it to a data model is interesting. Of course, the AI can't make too many mistakes, or the time correcting might overwhelm the time saved. I think we see that now with humans who we ask to ETL data. If they aren't good at it, or make lots of mistakes, those of us overseeing them might just do the entire job ourselves.
I know that AIs are still new and immature, and while there is a lot of potential, they feel like junior staffers now, needing more handholding and micromanaging than I like to do. Perhaps they will change our careers and the way we work, but I don't know how quickly, or even how deeply. Already I find lots of companies putting restrictions on what their employees can do with AI, which makes me think this might be more a targeted, niche technology more than a general, use-it-everywhere solution.