Today I woke up with a pep in my step. It was the first day of Zeroquode’s No Code Conference. As you may know, I was introduced to the concept on no code earlier this year. I even won a No Code challenge! Now I’m co-writer of the NoCodeDevs newsletter.
Least to say, I was excited to attend the conference, especially with speakers like Samantha Llyod, CEO of no code AI tool Metaranx. There was so much great stuff about no code for people of all levels, beginners to no code tool creators. Here are my top takeaways from the conference.
No Code is an engineer’s best friend
When I think of no code, I think of people like myself who have a background in development but haven’t done so in years. The most intense I got into code were SQL reports. Technical people will tell you it’s not technically a programming language since it’s used for querying databases. For me, I can make apps or more high powered functioning websites without code via tools like Glideapps or Webflow.
I’ve heard some people say no code is great for engineers too. Bubble’s founder and co-CEO, Emmanuel Straschnov, drove that idea home in today’s keynote. Straschnov said, “The shortage of engineering is a major issue.” Engineers and developers can leverage no code platforms to do the simple parts of their jobs faster. That leaves them more time to focus on complex problems that coding and engineering requires.
Straschnov said, “Whenever you have a new way to do things, people who are proficient in the old way see the limitations first.” But that doesn’t mean no code tools and platforms can’t work for everyone. “No code is your best friend because you won’t be bugged by people to build things that aren’t that interesting to build.” Said Straschnov.
Building a Startup with No Code
This was an interesting panel. The folks on the panel went deep into the benefits and risks of using no code as the backbone of a startup. Levon, of Zeroquode said that, “the advantages are overweigh with a big ratio. It’s a no brainer.”
The drawbacks of using no code are that some people worry about who owns the source code. Levon described people having a sense of possession over their code. For some people “it’s a problem they don’t own it, can’t customize it.” It takes some faith, Levon said.
Michael Skelly, another panelist said that in terms of time, it’s “something code can never live up to.” You can make a MVP with no code in the fraction of the time it would take to start from scratch. Getting something build first is a great way to test assumptions, product fit, and target market before investing more heavily in product design.
“I think no code is really great to remix in a novel way.” Skelly said.
Women in No Code
I’m all about diverse voices, thoughts, and ideas in tech. I think the more types of people we have, the better technology we can create. I’m not the only one. But the tech industry can be intimidating. No Code is a great way to lower the barrier to entry to tech. “No code empowers more women to get into tech and code.” Said Mariam Hakobyan. Samantha Lloyd, CEO of Metaranx, followed up the comment saying, “the benefit of no code is that it democratizes any field.”
No code is really is for everyone, of every gender and industry. I thought Hakobyan made a great point when she said, “Everyone knows Excel but stops there in automation. But 3-5 years from now everyone will have no code stack in their resumes.” I don’t know about you but that makes me want to add No Code tools to my LinkedIn profile right now.
Lacey Kesler, another panelist, said that we need to watch the terminology we use when describing No Code. She said, “we say no code is for everyone but we use tech terms to describe it. We need to meet people in this space where they are and not barrage them with tech terms that don’t matter to them (right now).
No Code and AI Ethics
After the Women in No Code panel, we jumped straight into AI ethics and no code in a talk from Samantha Lloyd. I find this topic fascinating since AI is encroaching on every part of our lives whether we know it or not. Chat bots are only the beginning. Email services like Gmail and Outlook try to finish our sentences for us. Digital humans are beginning to be company spokespeople and avatars are taking over as Insta influencers online.
It’s imperative we get diverse voices creating the AI and reporting on biases and ethics violations seen in artificial intelligence. “More voices means a more diverse product, a product that works for more people [in any app].” Lloyd said.
Lloyd started her talk with an example from Apple. It was discovered that the Apple card gives men a higher credit limit than women, even if the account holder is a married couple with shared finances. Apparently, gender wasn’t an input to the algorithm. People in companies who use AI don’t know how it works. It’s become a black box, too complicted for individual humans to understand. This is just one reason why we need to be vigilent about AI.
It’s easy to get sucked into the ease which technology provides. AI reminds us of appointments, plays our favorite songs, let’s us know what we want for dinner before we do. But at what cost? And who’s datasets are building an AI’s mind? “People will be less likely to spot what’s fake and what isn’t [as AI becomes more into our lives]” Lloyd said. And “by 2024 AI will be integral to every part of a business.”
We don’t want to make the same mistake with artificial intelligence that we did with Big Data, realizing the negative side affects after the fact, desperately trying to play catch up. It’s not just our individual lives at stake, countries around the world are dependent on their citizen’s knowledge of AI. “GDP growth will create a disparity between companies who have AI and those who don’t.” Said Lloyd.
As far as AI and No Code, Lloyd said, “we know web dev and app dev is huge in no code. There’s no reason AI can’t be part of that.”
No code reshapes AI ethics and bias because it opens up the field to everyone. Creating a platform that empowers users to build an AI tool is what we’re striving for. We want people who are interested in AI but may not be educated in it have a chance to explore it.
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