Friday, October 18, 2019

From healthcare all the way over to warfare, AI tech is redefining and benefiting a huge swathe of different industries. Don’t expect these developments to stop any time soon either. AI technology is massively valuable to corporations and that value is translating into huge investor interest.

App building is another massively lucrative growth area nowadays, and that intersection of app building and AI automation is exactly where you’re going to see some industry-shaking developments.

Software that could effectively reduce or even remove the need for actual developers and engineers could massively change the way app start-ups operate.

Fortunately for developers and engineers, recent news tells us that’s we’re not quite as close to the quick, automatically produced apps that certain companies have been promising.

Complete autonomy, where the AI software might only have a problem described to it, and produces an app-based solution, is a long way off. AI-assisted app-building has been in the news recently.

Current Attempts at App Building Automation

In summer 2019, an Indian start-up, Engineer.ai, claimed to have built an artificial intelligence-assisted app building platform. This was to be a huge leap forward, with the developers of the app promising users would be able to produce up to 80% of their mobile app using AI, all in under an hour.

Sounds amazing, right? It was predictably too good to be true. Engineer.ai were utilising something they called “human assistance” to speedily build their apps.

The Wall Street Journal reported that this “human assistance” was actually just human developers in India and other places, working to produce user’s apps at breakneck turnaround times.

Engineer.ai rode the AI hype all the way to $30 million in funding. While they do utilise some basic AI decision-making and planning tech to assign tasks to engineers, there’s no sign of the cutting edge AI they promised investors. This has predictably locked them into a bit of litigious gridlock, but they’re still working towards the tech they promised.

This story is just set to get more common though. The UK investment company, MMC Ventures stated that start-ups with an AI slant typically attract 50% more investment. Corporations are aware that the right AI software developer could massively reduce and aid their various operations, with some estimates of profit benefits spiralling out into as much as $13 trillion by 2030.

The trouble with modern AI development is that it’s a slow, arduous process. The popular examples of AI like image recognition and machine translation have been hard-won over the last couple of decades of development with huge investment and corporate interest driving them. Things appear to be slowing down elsewhere in AI.

The Future of Autonomous App Building

Like with any technology, the corporate and investor interest will drive development, but the pace of actual results could curtail this interest in the coming years.

Artificial intelligence is absolutely set to make a whole lot of processes a lot quicker and easier, as well as wildly reducing the manpower needed in a huge range of industries, but it’s not going to happen at the pace we might expect.

Designing and coding a mobile app isn’t just a complex task because of the skills required. Actual coding has a creative problem-solving element to it that’s simply going to be difficult to effectively replicate with AI.

We’re probably going to face a similar situation as we did with Siri voice recognition and all the other examples of AI tech. It’s going to arrive, and be fairly useful in some situations, and laughably inadequate in others.

Given several different iterations, if it proves promising enough, we could end up seeing a situation where creating an app is as easy as building a simple website. That’s not going to be for a while though.

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