Jensen Huang says kids shouldn't learn to code — they should leave it up to AI

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang
(Image credit: Nvidia)

At the recent World Government Summit in Dubai, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang made a counterintuitive break with what he thinks is a long tradition of tech CEOs advising youngsters to learn how to code. Huang argued that, even at this early stage of the artificial intelligence (AI) revolution, programming is no longer a vital skill. With coding taken care of by AI, humans can instead focus on more valuable expertise like biology, education, manufacturing, or farming, reasoned the Nvidia head.

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You can see the exchange if you expand the above tweet. In the minute-long segment of Huang’s stage time shared on social media, the Nvidia CEO said that for 10-15 years almost every person sitting on a tech forum stage would have insisted that it is “vital” for young people to learn computer science, to learn how to program computers. “In fact, it’s almost exactly the opposite,” according to Huang’s counterintuitive sense.

“It is our job to create computing technology such that nobody has to program. And that the programming language is human,” Jensen Huang told the summit attendees. “Everybody in the world is now a programmer. This is the miracle of artificial intelligence.”

After his grand counterintuitive pronouncement, the Nvidia CEO surmised that people could instead learn the skills to become experts in more useful fields. Experts in domains like biology, education, manufacturing, farming, and so on could save the time they might have needed to learn computer programming for more productive pursuits. Thus, the only language people would need is the language they were born and raised to speak, and are already experts in.

However, people still need to know how and when to apply AI programming. Therefore Huang asserts at the end of the brief clip that “It is vital that we upskill everyone, and the upskilling process I believe will be delightful, surprising.” 

With the above clip shared widely on social media, tech industry analyst Patrick Moorhead was stirred enough to comment. The top analyst pointed out to his Twitter / X followers, "For over 30 years, I’ve heard “XYZ will kill coding” yet we still don’t have enough programmers.” Moorhead listed several programming languages and tools that he said were supposed to kill coding – but clearly didn't.

Moorhead also drew parallels with the computer DTP revolution. He said that AI isn’t going to kill coding, but put it in the hands of more people. “Just like desktop publishing didn’t kill “creativity” it just expanded it.” While I agree that DTP and other digital art tools didn’t kill creativity, I don’t remember anyone suggesting moving from scalpels, Spray Mount, and scraps of paper to DTP would actually stunt creativity.

The impacts of AI on the (freelancing) job market - as seen so far

Only time will tell the actual impacts of the wave of AI applications that are set to appear in the coming months and years. However, a recent study of the volume of freelance work available since ChatGPT arrived was published by Bloomberry. This research shows that writing and translation freelancers have been hit hardest by AI rivals. Meanwhile, the numbers suggest software development jobs are up 6% since ChatGPT hit the scene.

Mark Tyson
Freelance News Writer

Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.

  • USAFRet
    This is laughable.

    1. If you don't know enough about "programming", you can't tell when the AI is wrong.
    (this is already a problem, even without "AI")

    2. The code syntax is only one part of delivering and supporting an application. Requirements, design, testing...all equally or more important than the basic syntax.
  • peachpuff
    Upskilling will be delightful... for who? Your shareholders?
  • vertuallinsanity
    So... Did he fully code his AI with AI?

    This is funny.

    In the real world... People are being advised to sell Nvidia at the high water mark.. lulz.
  • Findecanor
    Manager with little sense are going to ingurgitate these words, and use them as reason for laying off more software developers.
    The remaining staff is going to be overworked and overstressed (as if they weren't already) and quality will suffer.
    When everyone in the modern world depends on software for their daily lives, everyone will suffer.
  • CelicaGT
    Knowledge is power. Learn everything you can.

    Jensen has gone full evil now.
  • CmdrShepard
    CelicaGT said:
    Knowledge is power. Learn everything you can.

    Jensen has gone full evil now.
    Is he still lawful evil though?

    Seriously, Toms Hardware should tag all such articles as "CEO Brain Farts" so we can avoid them more easily.
  • PEnns
    This is beyond ridiculous.

    Where does he think AI gets its programming knowledge?? Definitely not from people like him who obviously know jack about programming!
  • CmdrShepard
    It is our job to create computing technology such that nobody has to program. And that the programming language is human
    There's 7,139 human languages, he should've been a bit more specific.
    Everybody in the world is now a programmer. This is the miracle of artificial intelligence.
    Nice try, but current models aren't intelligence -- they are just advanced auto-complete which is wrong more often than not.

    "Everybody in the world" will never be a programmer.

    Programming requires skills beyond that of knowing the language syntax. You need to be good at organizing, tracking multiple things at once, breaking down complex tasks into simple self-contained steps, and creating high-level abstractions to avoid repetition.

    Inform 7 already enables you to write computer code in plain English. The thing is, if you can't write code in a regular programming language you probably won't be any better in English either.
  • ekio
    What a hypocrite and nefarious person…
    His message:
    “Hey kids, don’t bother getting smart, instead rely on my overpriced products so I can get richer!”
  • thisisaname