ChatGPT Lowering the Barrier for Getting Stuff Done

Published on July 6, 2023

A barista writing code at a coffee shop

Is the future of programming and web development written in the language of generative AI models? I’m inclined to say yes, but not as dramatically as some might imagine, at least not for the time being.

The real charm of these models right now is their knack for lowering the entry barrier for tackling small to medium-sized projects or opportunities.

Let me paint a picture for you.

Recently, I stumbled upon an idea sparked by an Instagram highlight from a comedian my mother follows. This comedian had an amusing routine: he shared pictures of buildings that could convincingly be a church or a dispensary. Using Instagram polls, he let his followers guess the building’s true purpose, revealing the answer later.

It was a fun, quirky game, and it got me thinking: why not turn this into a simple web app? This way, anyone could join in on the fun without needing to navigate the labyrinth of Instagram.

In my book, this project wasn’t worth the time and effort it would take to build from scratch. However, with the assistance of my trusty sidekick, ChatGPT, I brought this idea to life in two hours. That’s a time investment I was willing to make, but not one that would have justified a full or even half a day. I used ChatGPT to generate the code base, then rolled up my sleeves and made some minor tweaks to the CSS.

The app was then deployed using CloudFlare pages, a service that allows you to publish a JAMstack website for free.

This is not the most groundbreaking use of ChatGPT. But it is a good example of how lowering entry barriers can make mediocre implementations worthwhile. As long as the end product works, the return on investment justifies the effort. A universe of business problems or opportunities of similar complexity is waiting to be addressed.

The future of ChatGPT and other generative AI models that can produce working code is exciting. They hold the potential to empower novices or those who have a basic understanding but need more time to fully dedicate themselves to expertly solving a problem.

What gets my gears turning about the future of these models is the democratization of creativity and the creation they bring to the table. They could spawn an entirely new market segment that didn’t exist before, enabling more people to create more things more quickly. If you’re curious, you can see the code base on GitHub. It’s not the Mona Lisa of codeā€”it’s neither sophisticated nor particularly well-written.

But guess what?

It works.

And that’s the crux of it. There are countless business problems out there that, if solved just well enough in a fraction of the time it would take to learn the necessary skills or write the code independently, would be worth the effort.

To me, that is the promise of generative AI models in the short term, and I’m excited to participate in it.

Meet the Author

Ethan Thompson is a Divisional Marketing Manager for a global safety company. He has worked in the digital marketing field for 13 years and loves the challenges the ever-changing field brings. When he isn't exploring new digital marketing tactics at his desk, he's out exploring Western New York. During the warmer months, he can often be seen riding his bike around the Empire State and sampling the local beer selection.