Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be coders, Jensen Huang warns

Maker of ML accelerators wants more people to use ML

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang believes AI has advanced to the point at which it's no longer necessary to prioritize computer science and coding education for the world's youth.

Apologies to the past decade of CompSci grads, but your college years would have been better spent gaining expertise in areas like science, manufacturing or farming, Huang declared at the recent World Governments Summit in Dubai.

"You probably recall over the course of the last 10, 15 years almost everybody who sits on a stage like this would tell you it is vital that children learn computer science," Huang explained during a talk about the future of AI. "Now, it's almost the complete opposite."

The miracle of artificial intelligence – aside from causing Nvidia's influence and stock price to skyrocket – is the fact that it'll make everyone into a programmer, Huang argued.

"This is the reason why so many people [are] talking about artificial intelligence today because for the very first time you can imagine everybody in your company being a technologist," he continued. "The technology divide has been completely closed."

Huang predicted that AI will make workers whose jobs involve synthesizing lots of information more valuable, because they won't need to develop coding skills, or collaborate with developers. The scientists, manufacturing wonks, and farmers of tomorrow will instead be able to make use of state-of-the-art computational systems by themselves.

Systems sold by Nvidia (and others), natch.

"You now have a computer that will do what you tell it to do to help automate your work, to amplify your productivity, to make you more efficient," Huang declared.

This vulture can't help but think of life on the fictional starship Enterprise, where scientists, engineers, and other experts do all the critical thinking, but leave the leg work to the ship's computer. All we need to do to go from today's world to a "just ask the computer" future, Huang claimed, is to train experts to work with AI – and presumably run this stuff on Nvidia hardware.

"It is vital that we upskill everyone, and the upskilling process, I believe, will be delightful [and] surprising to realize that this computer can perform all of these things you're instructing it to do and doing it so easily," Huang enthused.

Of course, that's easy to say when you're on the cutting edge of AI chip development and the models that use them. But not so much when you're on the ground floor dealing with the capabilities of machine learning models available now.

Current AI models are notoriously fickle – to the degree that phrasing the same question in various ways can lead to very different results. AIs also have a tendency to lie when they can't come up with the truth, making such services difficult to trust.

Long-time industry analyst Patrick Moorhead isn't convinced that Huang's predictions are accurate.

"For over 30 years, I've heard 'XYZ will kill coding' yet we still don't have enough programmers," Moorhead lamented. He mentioned low/no-code tools, IDEs, Swift, Java, Python and even compilers as things that were supposed to kill coding over the years, so predicted AI won't end coding "for a while."

"[AI] puts [coding] into the hands of more people," Moorhead argued. "Just like desktop publishing didn't kill 'creativity' it just expanded it."

So don't slip into despair that your degree (and the debt that came with it) is useless. Even the Enterprise needed to bring in dedicated programmers every once in a while, and Star Trek's generative AI was definitely more capable than ours. ®

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