During an internal company meeting in early 2023, Toby Deshane gave a talk about the capabilities and potential risks of AI tools such as ChatGPT and CoPilot, both quite new at the time. It also addresses common questions such as ethics, cost, privacy concerns, and the growing possibility of open-source alternatives. The rapidly evolving nature of the field has aged some material here, but in general it still provides a unique insight into this exciting nascent era in history.
We recently were a part of a project with what was, in many ways, a
typical successful startup. The company makes hardware for a niche
market, powered by their own firmware and driven by a suite of web
applications running both on a server and locally as
Electron apps. They make a great
product that is disrupting the space and they’re growing rapidly, both
in company size and number of users.
What started as a small integrated team has spun up to several groups
overseeing various aspects of the product and as that happened the
developers became somewhat siloed from the QA folks. Each group had
its own process for keeping the quality high in the face of rapid
growth, namely thorough unit tests on the development side and a
series of step-by-step documents used by a number of testers to
manually go through every page and every button of the web
applications. Releases were coming quickly and the testers were
spending hours upon hours methodically testing only to have to start
all over again when another release came out of development. They were
overworked and almost overwhelmed, and called Infinity for help.
Here at Infinity, one of our core precepts — coined by former
Infin-ite Shawn Moore — is the notion that “tickets are free”. The
idea is that you should never waste time wondering “should I make a
ticket for this?” Instead, just make the damn ticket! In the immortal
words of John Blutarsky, “it don’t cost nuthin’.”
With an opening paragraph like that, you’re probably expecting some
sort of listicle of all the ways adopting our “tickets are free” credo
will help make your software development efforts better and
turbocharge your coders to new heights of productivity. That is not
what you’re gonna get, however. Nope! Instead, I’m going to talk to
you about how tickets are free… because they’re not free like beer,
but instead are free like puppies. And then I’ll share ways to make
sure your freely created tickets are usefully propelling your project
forward, instead of bogging it down.