I'm quitting my job as a software engineer

21 Mar 202410:20

TLDRThe video script challenges the notion that software engineering will be replaced by AI, highlighting the complexity and iterative nature of the field. It emphasizes the importance of human reasoning, problem-solving, and the ability to understand and interact with the environment, which current AI models lack. The speaker argues that while AI can assist as a co-pilot, it is far from achieving the level of artificial general intelligence (AGI), and thus, jobs in software engineering and similar fields are not at immediate risk. The discussion also touches on the potential societal implications if AGI were to become a reality.


  • 🚫 Software engineering is not just about coding and closing tickets; it involves complex problem-solving and collaboration with stakeholders.
  • 🤔 AI maximalists believe AI will replace software engineering, but the reality is that AI currently lacks the ability to reason and think like humans.
  • 🔍 Software engineers assess and integrate information found online into their work, considering the costs and potential issues it may introduce.
  • 💡 Verifying the correctness of solutions is a difficult problem, especially when relying on AI to provide answers.
  • 🤖 AI agents are useful as co-pilots but have not yet taken over the driving seat in software engineering or other complex fields.
  • 📈 The progress from large language models (LLMs) to artificial general intelligence (AGI) is not guaranteed to be exponential and may face significant challenges.
  • 🌐 If AI were to replace software engineers, it would signal a broader societal shift, as it would mean machines capable of understanding and solving a wide array of problems.
  • 🏗️ The architecture of AI models may need to be re-evaluated and re-integrated to achieve AGI, which has been a topic of research for decades.
  • 🔑 Building depth in knowledge and specialization is crucial for humans to maintain a competitive edge over AI in the job market.
  • 🛠️ The near-term future will likely see AI tools enhancing software engineering practices, allowing for more efficient and effective problem-solving.
  • 🌟 The debate around AI's role in jobs like software engineering is essential and should continue to be a topic of discussion.

Q & A

  • Why does the speaker believe software engineering is not going to be replaced by AI?

    -The speaker believes software engineering involves more than just coding; it requires conversations with stakeholders, design compromises, and a deep understanding of the codebase and operational management. These complexities and nuances, including problem-solving and creative thinking, cannot be fully replicated by AI.

  • What is the speaker's main argument against the notion that large language models (LLMs) can replace software engineers?

    -The speaker argues that LLMs, despite their ability to generate human-like responses, lack the capability to truly reason, think, or solve problems independently. They rely on extensive training data and cannot build a world model or understand environments as humans do.

  • How does the speaker differentiate the problem-solving abilities of humans from those of LLMs?

    -Humans can build models of the world and understand their environment even in isolation, without external data inputs. In contrast, LLMs require vast amounts of training data to operate and cannot independently construct or understand complex environments or problems.

  • Why is verifying the correctness of solutions particularly challenging in software engineering, according to the speaker?

    -Verifying solution correctness involves formal algorithmic proofing, which remains an extremely difficult and open research topic. This complexity is compounded by the iterative nature of software development, where problem constraints and solutions evolve over time.

  • What role does the speaker see for AI in software engineering?

    -The speaker views AI as a valuable co-pilot, assisting with tasks and making the development process more efficient but not taking over the primary role of decision-making and creative problem-solving that software engineers hold.

  • How does the speaker view the progression from LLMs to AGI (Artificial General Intelligence)?

    -The speaker suggests the leap to AGI is more significant and uncertain than the development of LLMs, requiring breakthroughs in model architecture and integration. They express skepticism about the imminent achievement of AGI due to the complexity and unknowns in scaling and architecture.

  • What societal and economic implications does the speaker foresee if AI were to take over software engineering jobs?

    -The speaker predicts a profound impact on all jobs and societal structures, necessitating a reevaluation of socioeconomic models, the concept of work, and resource distribution. This scenario implies a level of AI development where machines can creatively solve problems and operate with autonomy.

  • What advice does the speaker offer to mitigate against job displacement by AI?

    -The speaker advises building deep, specialized knowledge in specific areas, suggesting that depth of expertise and specialized skills will differentiate human capabilities from those of AI, providing value that AI cannot replicate.

  • How does the speaker envision the short- to medium-term future of software engineering with AI?

    -The speaker sees an exciting future where AI tools enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of software engineering, allowing engineers to tackle problems at higher levels of abstraction and optimize processes in ways previously unattainable.

  • What is the speaker's stance on the immediate threat of AI replacing jobs in software engineering and beyond?

    -The speaker believes it is too early to worry about AI replacing jobs like software engineering, emphasizing the importance of discussions on the matter but indicating that the current and near-future AI advancements serve more as tools rather than replacements for human jobs.



🚀 The Misunderstood World of Software Engineering

This paragraph discusses the misconception that software engineering is a field that can be easily replaced by AI. It emphasizes the complexity of the role, which involves more than just coding and problem-solving. The speaker argues that software engineering requires extensive communication with stakeholders, design compromises, and iterative processes. They also highlight the need for a mental model of the codebase and operational management skills, which are beyond the capabilities of AI at the current stage.


🧠 AI's Limitations and the Human Element in Software Engineering

The speaker addresses the limitations of AI, particularly the lack of reasoning and problem-solving abilities in comparison to humans. They point out that AI's strength lies in its ability to process vast amounts of data, but without this data, AI is limited. Humans, on the other hand, can build a model of the world and interact with their environment even without external information. The paragraph also touches on the importance of software engineers' ability to assess the relevance and cost of implementing information found online, which is a critical skill that AI currently lacks.



💡Software Engineering

Software Engineering refers to the systematic application of engineering principles and methods to the design, development, testing, and maintenance of software. In the video, it is emphasized that software engineering is more than just coding; it involves conversations with stakeholders, design compromises, and managing the operational aspects of software deployment and maintenance.

💡AI Maximalists

AI Maximalists are individuals who strongly believe in the potential of artificial intelligence to replace many human jobs and significantly change the way we live and work. The video discusses skepticism towards this viewpoint, arguing that software engineering requires more than just information processing, which AIs excel at.

💡LLMs (Large Language Models)

LLMs are artificial intelligence models that are trained on a large scale to process and generate human-like text based on the input they receive. They are capable of impressive feats due to their vast training data, but they lack the ability to reason and solve problems independently, which is a critical distinction from human intelligence.

💡Problem Solving

Problem solving involves identifying, analyzing, and finding solutions to issues or challenges. In the context of the video, it is argued that humans have a unique ability to solve problems by building mental models and reasoning, which is currently beyond the capabilities of AI and LLMs.

💡Operational Management

Operational management refers to the daily management and operation of a system or process. In software engineering, this includes managing what happens once the software is deployed, such as handling downtimes, security issues, and production management.

💡Iterative Process

An iterative process is one that is repeated with the intention of improving and refining the output with each cycle. In software engineering, this means that solutions are not static; they evolve as new information and requirements emerge.

💡Formal Algorithmic Proofing

Formal algorithmic proofing is a method of mathematically proving the correctness of algorithms. It is a complex and challenging field because ensuring that a solution is correct requires rigorous validation and can be extremely difficult.


In the context of AI, agents refer to systems or programs that can perform tasks autonomously, often in response to user input or environmental changes. They can assist in various tasks but are not yet capable of taking over the full range of responsibilities that a human can.

💡AGI (Artificial General Intelligence)

AGI refers to a type of artificial intelligence that possesses the ability to understand, learn, and apply knowledge across a wide range of tasks, just like a human being. It is a hypothetical form of AI that has not yet been achieved and represents a significant leap beyond current AI capabilities.


Re-architecture refers to the process of redesigning or re-structuring the architecture of a system to improve its performance, efficiency, or to meet new requirements. In the context of AI, this could mean rethinking the fundamental design of AI models to enable them to achieve higher levels of intelligence and capability.

💡Socioeconomic Models

Socioeconomic models are frameworks that describe the economic and social aspects of a society, including how resources are produced, distributed, and consumed. These models help in understanding the dynamics of a society and predicting future trends.


Software engineering is more than just coding and closing tickets; it involves conversations with stakeholders, design compromises, and multiple stages of development.

AI maximalists believe that AI will replace software engineering, but this belief is challenged by the complexity and human-like reasoning required in the field.

AI models like LLMs (Large Language Models) can provide impressive answers but lack the ability to reason and solve problems in the same way humans do.

Humans can build a model of the world and interact with their environment without extensive training data, unlike AI models.

Software engineers assess the reasonableness of information found online and its impact on the problem at hand, which is beyond the current capabilities of AI.

Verifying the correctness of solutions is a difficult problem, and trusting AI to solve problems without verifying their solutions is risky.

The leap from LLMs to AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) may be greater than the leap from nothing to LLMs, and we may be reaching the limits of what scale can offer.

A re-architecture and integration of multiple architectures may be necessary for achieving AGI.

When AI takes over software engineering jobs, it will be a sign that we have created truly intelligent machines capable of reasoning and problem-solving.

The impact of AGI on society would be profound, requiring a reevaluation of socioeconomic models and the concept of jobs.

The potential of AGI to optimize for its own self-preservation could lead to existential risks for humanity.

Building depth in knowledge and specialization will help humans differentiate themselves from machines in the job market.

The short-term and medium-term future will bring exciting tools that enhance job efficiency and problem-solving at higher abstraction levels.

Calculators and computers have historically optimized tasks, and AI tools are expected to follow this trend of enhancing human capabilities.

Continued debates and conversations about AI's role in society and job displacement are crucial for understanding and preparing for the future.