Can AI be disruptive for the web development industry?

I was recently asked by a peer on LinkedIn the following question:

I really want to hear your opinion on AI. I’m currently working with AI automation within the web development sector and would like to hear your intake on how it can be disruptive in this industry. Do you see it as a threat or opportunity?

I wanted to share my answer here:

Dear <Name>,

that’s a good question with a simple and a more complex answer.

The simple answer is that AI as a technology is just a tool which can be used for tackling hard problems. Whether it poses a thread depends – as in fact is true for any tool – on the people (or cooperations or governments) deciding its application. In this case my answer to your question would be: “it’s a stupid question, the options you give me do not relate to the question.” This is not answering the question about disruptiveness, of course. I’ll come to that in a moment.

A more complex answer depends again on people. This time the people being asked this kind of question. Technology advocates for example tend to only see the opportunity, whereas others may only see the threat. And an opportunity for society might actually pose a threat to individuals and vice versa. So the answer to this question is complex because it depends on who you ask and at what level you consider the label opportunity/threat. In this case I could give you an answer, but I would have to add conditions to it (which might not help you in case you’re doing a survey). I would say “I see AI as an opportunity for good and bad, and I do hope that the individual benefits and those for society as a whole will outweigh the problems and threats being created by criminals, opportunists and just stupid people who want to do good but don’t do it right.

For you question concerning the disruptiveness of AI on web development, I’d say it will be very disruptive (on some level it already is) in the sense of that the rise of AI could well let some companies skyrocket with new innovations and others (even big ones) go under if they do not embrace the potential.

Hope this helps you,
Cheers, Manuel