The Do’s and Don’ts of Using AI in Software Development

AI is a powerful tool for programmers, but if it’s not used properly, it can cause more problems than it serves. Learn the do’s and don’ts of using AI in software development to ensure that you reap AI’s benefits while avoiding pitfalls. By Mina H. Gerges.

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DO Protect Your Privacy

Any AI tool you use will automatically receive your log data, including your IP address, browser type, and settings, whenever you use it. In order to train and enhance its models, it also saves your chat history and the precise moment you engaged with the website. This is the cost of using a tool like this, especially if it’s free. However, if the information you gave to these tools has security flaws or backdoors into your code, you could be facing a security issue.

When you engage with any AI tool, be sure that you don’t expose any sensitive data like encryption keys, API secrets, passwords and authentication tokens, healthcare data, and financial information.

If you must include any of these sensitive data types in your search, you can substitute them with dummy information, such as XXX. Here is a Blackbox AI Chat tool example to illustrate this.

Example of Blackbox AI chat question replacing the sensitive data in it with XXX

In the above example, I substituted “XXXXXX” for the public key hash to safeguard my true key. In other situations, you could decide not to submit the entire question at all if you don’t feel safe doing so.

Remember that you’re not submitting these questions to your local drive, so be careful.

DO Consider Ethics in AI

The use of AI techniques presents significant ethical questions. To use AI tools responsibly, you must:

  • Consider the potential for biased or offensive responses.
  • Be careful not to become overly dependent on these tools.
  • Not abuse AI for illegal activities.

AI models like ChatGPT can inherit biases present in their training data, leading to discriminatory or offensive responses. You may experience biased behavior that perpetuates stereotypes or marginalizes certain groups.

Furthermore, there are concerns about addiction and overuse of AI tools. You might become overly dependent on AI for decision-making, potentially reducing critical thinking skills and interpersonal connections. Ethical use of AI tools involves promoting responsible and balanced usage, acknowledging their limitations, and encouraging yourself to maintain a healthy relationship with technology.

Finally, it’s important not to misuse AI tools to access data or information you’re not legally authorized to obtain. Engaging in actions like acquiring software keys without proper authorization is not only unethical but could also be criminal. Responsible use of AI tools entails respecting intellectual property rights and following legal and ethical guidelines in all interactions with these systems.

Note: For more information about AI ethics and what big companies are doing to limit unethical behavior, see How Google Is Addressing Ethical Questions in AI.

Key Takeaways

Throughout this article, you have reviewed several do’s and don’ts of using AI in software development. Specifically:

  • Utilize AI tools as effective aids, not as replacements for your skills or as learning platforms.
  • AI technologies are a useful part of your learning support system, along with your existing resources.
  • Evaluate AI output to be sure that it’s accurate and correct. Iterate upon your prompts to find the best answers.
  • While working with AI, be cautious to safeguard your sensitive data and observe all applicable ethical guidelines.

Have you discovered any more do’s and don’ts that you implement when using AI? Feel free to share your experience in the forums below!

About the Author

Mina Gerges is a senior iOS developer who has worked at Kodeco as an article author since January 2022. He began his career in iOS development by self-study. Over the years, he explored various learning approaches. Since the beginning of AI tools, Mina has smoothly incorporated them into his everyday tasks, transforming them into a crucial part of his own learning support system.