A few years ago, we wrote an article about The Grid – an artificial intelligence (AI) platform that could build custom designed websites from scratch.

On the surface, The Grid seems like a potential threat to web developers and graphic designers. In fact, this technology poses an existential threat to anyone working in IT – including software testers.

However, we weren’t that worried then. And we’re even less so now.

When we originally wrote that post back in 2014, The Grid was in beta. And almost 2 years later, the platform still hasn’t launched.

If you follow innovation and AI as much as we do, you’ll begin to notice a repeating motif. There’s always something new and exciting just around the corner – but the breakthrough never actually materializes. The launch date is always tomorrow… and then tomorrow… etc.

So just from a practical standpoint, there isn’t much need to worry – at least not for the foreseeable future. The very fact that The Grid is still in prototype is proof positive that testers are needed – if for no other reason than to test The Grid.

But what happens when disruptive technologies like this move out of beta?

Will Software Testers Always Be in Demand?

This isn’t a rhetorical question. Although The Grid may still be a long way off, artificial intelligence isn’t.

Case in point is No Man’s Sky – an artificially created universe that creates itself. Using advanced AI and mathematics, the designers of this much-anticipated gaming platform have developed a vast universe with 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 planets to explore.

That’s more than 18 quintillion individual worlds scattered across a seemingly infinite expanse.

And unlike The Grid, No Man’s Sky has a fixed launch date (June 21 in the US). Eager buyers can even preorder discs now for the PS4.

We fully expect that demand for this gaming platform will be enormous. Even if it is a little buggy, the “cool” factor is overwhelming. Programmers can fix defects along the way, which will of course require software testers. But the success of No Man’s Sky will usher in a new industry – one in which artificial intelligence becomes the driving force behind code.

So what happens next?

In the short term, there will be a huge surge in software testing demand. This single game alone has created an entire universe of bugs that’ll require fixing. Remember, we’re talking about 18 quintillion planets, each with animals, plants, and climate systems.

But No Man Sky could eventually become stable enough – in theory. So what then?

The Marriage between AI and Software Testing in the Long-Term

Let’s quickly revisit the article we wrote about The Grid several years ago. In it, we pointed out how no industry is immune to disruptive technology. Not even creative fields like art, literature, and music – domains historically reserved for humans only.

However, disruptive technology often creates more opportunities than it destroys.

Remember the projected death of manual testing when automation came out? That simply didn’t happen. In fact, Testuff has more users than ever before.

If anything, AI’s success will only create more demand for testers – not less.

This is because:

  • Entrepreneurs will jump into the industry and need experienced quality assurance professionals to make their own AI platforms more stable.
  • The communities surrounding each platform will create add-ons and plug-ins – all of which will need to be individually tested and maintained.
  • Each innovation brings new risks. And testers will be needed to plug leaks and protect users from cyber-attacks and hackers.

From the Matrix to Skynet to Resident Evil, there are plenty of reasons why society should fear artificial intelligence.

But as professional software testers, we welcome AI and the unprecedented opportunities it will bring to our industry. In fact, this technology could be an even bigger game changer than the Internet.

Agree? Disagree? Please share your thoughts down below.