With generative AI applications like ChatGPT currently charming users across the globe, IT professionals are casting a wary eye on the nascent technology as it could mean the end for the current era of software development.
If we are to go by ex)situ researcher Philip Tchernavskij’s concept of malleable software, we may be looking at a future wherein human developers can work with generative AI to customize a whole range of digital tools and even develop whole applications from scratch.
This, in and of itself, will create a potential framework that could change the way we look at, use, and create software. On the other hand, it also questions the worth and the future of software as a service (SaaS) firms in a world where even laymen can develop their own applications.
For those in the IT sector, the inclusion of generative AI could serve as a disruptive force among developers, but most especially for those in SaaS.
SaaS firms have, over the past decade, have disrupted the field of tech development. But now, it seems, the shoe is on the other foot in terms of investments and revenues.
Thanks to the emergence of low-code and no-code startups like Airtable and Webflow, venture capitalists and the minds behind startups have begun to democratize innovation within the digital sector. This democratization has already begun to draw investments away from SaaS firms as potential investors want to put their money into developers who can generate code in regular languages and build apps sans convoluted jargon.
This has already begun thanks to AI applications like GitHub Copilot which enables users to generate code in their regular language.
What About Vertical Software?
SaaS companies aren’t the only ones threatened by the advent of generative AI-assisted development. Vertical software companies that enable old-school industries to make use of new-generation technologies are also under threat, especially those whose added value revolves around convenience as opposed to product differentiation.
Interestingly, several late-stage startups are trying to get a leg up over the issue by giving their customers a slice of the innovation game. One such example is an AI writing assistant offered by tech startup Guru. Here, customers are given the ability of creating their own customized tones of voice by way of generative AI.
This development flies in the face of the conventional notion that software is a rigid tool with a set range of actions for its users.