2024: MultiValue Adapts to Change

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Mike Ruane, President and CEO, Revelation Software

Overpromised for a long time, AI systems are now a part of the mainstream and in use by organizations worldwide. AI programming will probably augment the abilities of MV programmers in the immediate future and, eventually, replace some programmers.

Is this necessarily a bad thing? Let’s face it: A lot of the MV programmers in the world are getting a bit long in the tooth and are starting to leave the industry for one reason or another. For sites where OpenInsight is being used and needs to be supported, a power user could use search engines and find programming examples and try to adapt those examples to solve the problem at hand. They could also find a consultant to help them out. However, both could use one of the AI systems currently available to provide some solutions.

Currently, if a user were to ask one of the AI systems for a program written in OpenInsight’s Basic+ programming system, the result might be underwhelming. For example, I asked ChatGPT the following question: “Can you write a program in OpenInsight’s Basic+ programming language that will list the Name, Address, and Email columns from the Contacts table?” The result returned was a snippet that mixed Basic+, PICK Basic, and SQL and would not compile in an OpenInsight system. But it would provide a good example that can be cut and pasted and then modified.

I see AI programming as a double-edged sword: I believe that it will reduce the need for the number of MV programmers, although competent, smart MV programmers will always be in demand. Other AI systems will likely produce more correct programs, although it will remain to be seen as to whether organizations using such code would be able to maintain or enhance it. But I suspect that the use of AI programming systems will extend the lifetimes of several MV systems where the original developers have left.

There can be other benefits. It may even be possible to delegate internationalization to AI systems, allowing our applications to communicate in the local language and cultural idiom for customers around the world.

AI systems are here now, and more are coming. We should all determine how we can work with them and make the best use of them, both for ourselves and our clients.

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