Where are we?

© Sarah Holmlund | Dreamstime.comWhen I first Google’d this topic, to my surprise, the top results were not touting test tools using AI to augment the test process, but research papers and books describing the theory of applying AI to software testing.

The progress we have recently made in artificial intelligence applications has fascinated me. Particularly in areas touching on the potential creativity of machines. This is one of the highly experimental areas of AI, which still seems to be forming. Some other applications of AI have either been rather successful since the beginning, like AI planners, which are routinely used to aid in planning of complex systems, and data mining, which becomes increasingly popular with time. It looks like AI applied to testing is one of those areas where it still proves to be rather difficult to replace a human being.

In a training I attended this year, we discussed whether testers would soon be put out of work, replaced by machines. Since we started using agile development practices, and test automation tools, it would seem that we require fewer and fewer testers to produce the same amount of software. Perhaps the next step in this progression is for software development and testing to be carried out in part by machines. This could put people out of work and would not be limited to the software industry. This article from the Economist discusses the economic risk to jobs posed by intelligent computing. But luckily we still seem to have some years to go before we have put ourselves out of business.

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