Monday Apr 22, 2024

Examining developers' perception of AI tools at GitHub

The explosive popularity of generative AI has been accompanied by the question of whether developers are finding great uses for the new technology.

While the hype around GenAI has grown, the perception of its usefulness for developers has changed.

"Developers are eager to kind of embrace AI more into their complex tasks, but not for every part, and they're not open to the same degree," GitHub researcher Eirini Kalliamvakou said on the Targeting AI podcast from TechTarget Editorial.

On Jan. 17, Kalliamvakou released new findings that showed the evolution of developers' expectations of and perspectives on AI tools.

For many developers, GenAI tools are like a second brain and serve mainly to reduce some of the cognitive burden they feel performing certain tasks. Cognitive burden in coding is produced by tasks that require more energy than developers would like to invest.

"They feel that it is not worth their time," Kalliamvakou said. "This is a sort of task that is ripe for automation."

Many developers are also using AI tools to quickly make sense of a lot of information and understand the context of what they need to do.

While many developers find AI tools helpful, others experience AI skepticism, she added.

Developers who are skeptical about AI had tried AI tools and were not satisfied.

"They felt the tools are not good enough," Kalliamvakou continued.

This is because the tools sometimes gave inaccurate responses and were not helpful.

"What they were saying was AI [tools] at the moment, they cannot be trusted, they cannot give ground truths,"  she said.

The two groups of developers are important to keep in mind for GitHub and other AI vendors creating tools that developers will use.

Esther Ajao is a TechTarget Editorial news writer and podcast host covering artificial intelligence software and systems. Shaun Sutner is senior news director for TechTarget Editorial's information management team, driving coverage of artificial intelligence, unified communications, analytics and data management technologies. Together, they host the Targeting AI podcast series.

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