AI code to Stack Overflow: adapt or die.

Reaping Season

Stack Overflow, the go-to coding resource and forum, is laying off more than a hundred workers totaling 28 percent of its staff — just as AI-powered coding tools like OpenAI's ChatGPT are threatening to reshape the industry.

CEO Stack Overflow Prashanth Chandrasekar announced the layoffs today, explaining that struggles to reach profitability and unspecified "macroeconomic pressures" led to the cullings.

Just last year, Stack Overflow went on a hiring spree that saw the company double its headcount to 540 people, but soon after OpenAI grabbed the public's attention with the release of ChatGPT in November.

Since then, Stack Overflow has experienced diminished website traffic while coders have flocked to ChatGPT, Microsoft's GPT-4 powered Github Copilot, and similar coding tools that use machine learning instead of advice by humans.

Adapt or Die

Stack Overflow is trying to adapt in two ways: developing its own AI coding tool called OverflowAI and moving to charge tech companies like OpenAI that have built AI models using data from Stack Overflow's website.

"We are entering this new era," Chandrasekar told Insider in August. "People who are leveraging our data for LLM purposes, we took a position several months ago that they should engage with us."

"We should be able to be paid for that data," Chandrasekar said. "The large companies have proactively reached out to us, and we're effectively engaged in those conversations at the moment."

It'll be interesting to see if Stack Overflow can successfully adapt to the AI tech boom era, which has other companies like Meta laying off scores of workers this year while pushing more investment into AI.

Of course, there's a looming question that tech companies haven't quite managed to address: if there are fewer coders, and hence less human-made data, will their precious AI models collapse without up-to-date training data?

More on AI code: GitHub Says 92 Percent of Programmers Are Using AI

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