Kasper von Grünberg, Humanitec. What it Means to be a Platform Engineer

Anya Salhi, July 19, 2023

Platform engineering is a captivating domain that holds a crucial position in the prosperity of contemporary enterprises. It involves creating, constructing, and sustaining the foundational framework that facilitates the functioning of applications and services. This framework encompasses various components such as databases, application servers, messaging systems, and APIs. 

Disruption of Human Roles by AI Technology

The profound and extensive influence of artificial intelligence (AI) on platform engineering cannot be overstated. AI has the power to revolutionize the work and lifestyle of knowledge workers and artisans, leading to significant changes in how we interact with one another. 

Interestingly, Kaspar believes, “The advent of new technologies like AI and chat GPT is poised to disrupt industries, lowering the barrier to entry and reshaping the market landscape.”

As Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues to gain momentum, its effects on the job market have become a hot topic of discussion. Jay asks Kaspar about the negative impacts of AI technology, and Kaspar shares his concerns that “AI has been disrupting knowledge workers by replacing them in certain traditional roles.” A prime example of this is the use of AI-powered chatbots in customer service roles. These chatbots are rapidly becoming the norm in the industry, as they provide quick and accurate responses to customer inquiries without the need for human intervention. It’s a trend that’s causing concern among some, as it highlights the potential of AI to take over more jobs previously carried out by humans.

Certain roles previously carried out by human workers have been taken over by AI technology in several industries. For instance, AI-powered robots can perform repetitive tasks faster, more accurately, and cheaper than human workers in the manufacturing sector, decreasing the required number of human workers. Likewise, AI-powered software in the financial sector can analyze data and make investment decisions more precisely and quickly than human investors, leading to a change in the roles and responsibilities of financial analysts and investment managers.

Preventing Costly Problems with Platform Engineering

Kaspar makes an important observation that “platform engineering can prevent expensive issues, such as additional costs resulting from the time spent on human efforts.”

He observes, “Finding a security tool after transitioning to the cloud forces us to examine whether we’re merely treating symptoms or truly addressing the root cause of our newfound needs.” 

Although critical to creating applications and services, platform engineering can lead to costly problems if not done properly. Here are some key ways to prevent these problems:

  1. Planning for scalability using cloud-based services and designing the platform to handle failures gracefully
  2. Investing in automation tools like Ansible and Puppet, as well as CI/CD pipelines, to streamline tasks and reduce the risk of human error
  3. Monitoring and analyzing metrics such as server load, response times, and error rates to quickly identify and address issues
  4. Prioritizing security by implementing strong authentication and authorization systems, using encryption, and regularly scanning for vulnerabilities
  5. Embracing DevOps, which emphasizes collaboration and communication between development and operations teams to build a platform with scalability, automation, and security in mind

By focusing on these five areas, companies can build and maintain a platform that supports the creation of high-quality software and services while minimizing the risk of costly problems. 

Kaspar concludes, “By considering the repercussions of decisions made and the subsequent problems they create, one can develop strong opinions on the need for corrective measures.” 

Transformation of Society with AI Technology

Kaspar notes that, “The advent of AI ushers in a new era where technologies are perceived and leveraged in entirely novel ways, paving the path for unforeseen possibilities.” 

Artificial intelligence (AI) technology has been transforming society at an unprecedented pace, revolutionizing how we live and work. From autonomous vehicles to virtual assistants, AI-powered machines are becoming ubiquitous, making our lives more convenient, efficient, and productive.

Jay agrees that “the world has changed dramatically since the initial experimentation with AI technology started. Now life has become easier as tasks are carried out easily.” 

AI technology has made a significant impact on society in the healthcare field. The development of AI-powered medical devices and diagnostic tools has enabled healthcare professionals to detect and diagnose diseases accurately and promptly, potentially saving countless lives by identifying health issues even before symptoms appear.

Looking toward the future, it is crucial to consider how these changes will impact society as a whole. As more tasks become automated through AI-powered technologies, from customer service roles to complex engineering projects, certain sectors of society may experience an increase in unemployment, as jobs they once relied on for income security may no longer be available. However, this technological shift may also bring new opportunities for individuals with specialized skill sets related directly or indirectly to artificial intelligence technologies, such as data scientists.

Kaspar finishes by saying, “The utilisation of machine learning to enhance application performance and swiftly address incidents through solutions like DevOps Guru represents a compelling opportunity for organizations.”. 

When carefully planned, platform engineering can prevent costly issues, even with the introduction of AI technology that is vastly improving the world. However, as demonstrated by how AI technology is replacing human roles today, everything with benefits also has drawbacks.

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