No-code AI promises to democratise AI. Sound familiar? Historical precedent demonstrates that this usually means a complex new technology becomes widely accessible to both consumers and businesses alike.

But what actually is no-code AI and will it deliver on the promise of practical business benefits by making programming accessible to more people within an organisation?

Essentially, no-code AI is a programming method using a no-code development platform that allows users to programme with a code-free, visual based user-friendly interface – most frequently in a drag-and-drop format.

On the question of democratising AI development, do BigTech companies developing code-free development platforms not still have a monopoly over the technology and how it is developed? According to GlobalData analyst, Isabel Al-Dhahir, no-code AI will democratise access to AI by simplifying the process of building in-house tools.

While Big Tech companies possess the resources to investigate cutting-edge R&D and the infrastructure to scale widely, says Al-Dhahir, numerous startups are entering this space. “These startups offer the advantages of agility and user-centric design, crucial for addressing specific market needs and opportunities,” she adds.

A cursory look at the no-code AI tool market, demonstrates a heavy Big Tech presence with Amazon’s SageMaker, Google AutoML and Google Teachable Machine, Microsoft Lobe and Apple CreateML alongside prominent startups in the space which include Aikko, Obviously AI, DataRobot and PyCaret.

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Why does no-code AI matter to businesses?

While still a niche area today, will enterprise employees beyond the IT department eventually be using no-code AI? Al-Dhahir believes that no-code AI will help diversify and upskill the workforce as job functions become more agile.

“Given the accessibility and ease of use, the realm of AI may no longer be restricted to IT professionals. Business analysts, data scientists, and marketing professionals, among others, will find themselves able to make customisable models that generate the insights they need,” she says.

According to figures from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for AI engineers in the US is around $136,620. With programming no longer a specialist skill, no-code AI platforms may help save on the cost of hiring these specialist software engineers and the reduce the time spent developing complex AI platforms.

Businesses looking to integrate no-code AI will need to differentiate between complex and straightforward programming tasks, as a first step. No-code AI can help businesses to delegate the creation of basic AI models to staff within a range of job functions within an organisation. This leaves more complex technology focused work such as overhaling legacy systems and technology infrastructure design to specialists within the organisation.