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Artificial intelligence is set to disrupt many industries, including website development and digital services. However, as is the case with most sectors, there will always be a place for human developers, particularly in 2021 when this technology is only just getting off the ground.

Progressive companies that provide web development services are starting to investigate how AI could be harnessed to improve the speed, efficiency, and quality of website development. Read on to find out how this technology is set to shake up the industry this decade.

What is artificial intelligence (AI)?

Artificial intelligence is a type of engineering that enables machines to simulate human thought processes. The field of AI was pioneered when cryptographer Alan Turning posed the question — ‘can machines think?’

When we speak about artificial intelligence, our mind often jumps to films that involve machines becoming smarter than humans and taking over the world. In reality, artificial intelligence can be used to simply make our lives easier.

The technology may still be evolving but already has a wide range of uses. For example, smart home assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home use AI technology to convert spoken word into written text, before instigating a response. AI is currently used by many ride-sharing companies, such as Uber, to help drivers make smart decisions about which route to take. The technology is also making great waves in agriculture, where it can be used to detect soil abnormalities and areas of concern.

Put simply, AI describes the ability of a computer to take information, analyse it, and make an informed decision based on past experience — just like we humans do!

The intersection of AI and web development

There are very few industries around the world that are not investigating how AI can be used to simplify workflow processes and increase efficiency. Given that the technology is rooted in engineering and science, it is little surprise that the tech sector would be at the forefront of any new developments.

Artificial intelligence can both be used in the process of web development and implemented as a digital resource in a website. In terms of the latter, many of the functions that we have come to expect on a website are powered by AI. Chatbots, for example, use a form of AI known as natural language processing to mimic real human speech patterns. Other tools, such as voice search and personalised marketing, make use of different types of AI.

The process of building a website can be long and difficult. Even if you are using a CMS (content management system), a developer will still spend a lot of their time doing manual coding, time that could be better spent discussing aspects of design or functionality.

The market is just starting to introduce tools that can significantly simplify this process. For example, Sketch2Code is a software with the ability to convert hand-written drawings to HTML prototypes. Developers can suggest code changes on a whiteboard that can immediately be used to generate new web pages.

AI technologies can also be used to detect bugs and vulnerabilities in code, protecting both web users and the web development company from having private data stolen.

While it’s unlikely that AI will completely replace the role of a web developer, it can certainly be used to simplify manual processes and improve the user experience.

Tips for working with a web development team

In 2021, not many teams that provide web development services are going to be using AI technology to physically build a website. Given that the current tools are in their infancy, they don’t necessarily make things easier on a developer.

An innovative web development company will, however, incorporate AI wherever they can into the features and functionality of a website. This can include tools such as chatbots, voice search, and software that can detect potential credit card fraud.

Before working with a web development team, ask about their experience with AI technology. Inquire how they use data to inform web development and what tools they have at their disposal to create an intelligent, customised user experience.

When working with AI, it’s very important to take appropriate steps to safeguard user data. Artificial intelligence relies on masses of data in order to comprehend user patterns and source relevant information or results. As such, you will probably be collecting an extensive amount of personal information. Make sure that your web development company understands the responsibilities you have towards your customers and secures data appropriately.

As is the case with all industries, AI will likely be harnessed to make the process of web development more simple and efficient. In 2021, don’t expect your entire website to be developed by a machine. However, you shouldn’t be surprised if when discussing the web design process with a web development company, the term ‘artificial intelligence’ pops up more than a few times!

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