Publication - http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=2661744
I'm rather concerned that engineers will be replaced by AI in the future. I wish we had some sort of developers union.
Of course that doesn't mean some kinds of gruntwork programming can't be automated. Lots of CS research over the last half-century has focused on exactly this: how to eliminate repetitive drudgery and provide the right abstractions to enable human programmers to concentrate on what's interesting and build bigger, more capable programs. In some sense a high-level language compiler is an "AI" that programs for you: you give it a compact specification of what the machine should do and it "writes a program" (generates machine code) to do it.
The ability to machine-learn some functional components of a program doesn't replace human programmers, any more than compilers do. It just enables programmers to spend their time and energy in other ways and levels-up the kind of programs we're able to produce.
Pixar disagrees that people won't accept computer-generated entertainment.
I agree that there's zero (maybe even negative) social capital for programmers but as teachers have found out, one well-funded PR campaign can undo even the best social capital.
The same faction -- and in many case the same individuals -- that portray teachers as lazy overcompensated government workers today have been doing so for decades. Conversely, the same people that have seen them as selfless nurturers have been doing that for just as long. Nothing has changed in the last "few years" in that regard.
Highly skilled programmers, as well as programmers whose jobs are dominated by both design and implementation, will probably be one of the last professions to be replaced by AI.
But there are a lot of programmers who could be replaced by automation (although various constrained, "domain-specific" forms of program synthesis working on concert with ever-improving development environments, libraries and frameworks are probably more likely culprits.
edit: In other words, the general problem of replacing programmers is AI-complete, but not ever programming task/job requires full generality.
I can imagine careers like hair dressers, artists, nurses, etc. lasting throughout the singularity even if computers could technically do these jobs as well.
Imagine having the best hair dresser | artist | nurse | etc of the world completely focused on you, 24 hours a day, for everybody.
Self-Programming Artificial Intelligence Learns to Use Functions
While for many involved in technology, this is an exciting time. You have to ask, what will happen to most people's jobs?