The path to socially responsible AI

As a company, we strongly believe that the community of the world’s most engaged developers and technologists and the answers they share will ensure the success of AI’s future.

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For 15 years, Stack Overflow has enabled developers and technologists to build and innovate faster. Blending a historic technical knowledge base of more than 59+ million questions and answers with a global platform to connect with and learn from peers and experts, Stack Overflow is the workspace developers and technologists use to stay at the cutting edge.

Let's be clear, if coding was easy, the world wouldn't need senior developers or Stack Overflow.

And like senior developers, the Stack Overflow knowledge base and community provides real-time, accurate, and sourced solutions to technical challenges. As technology evolves, individuals and the community collaborate to keep pace.

No doubt, AI was the cutting edge technology in 2023 that everyone was trying to keep pace with. People across industries envisioned AI as being the fuel for thousands of hours of time saved, replacing jobs to reduce costs, and unlocking innovation at a scale we have never before seen. AI is like the discovery of fire—it's a great tool if you know how to use it, but if you don't use it responsibly (or use a model built responsibly), it will burn you.

As a company, Stack Overflow's products are built for the developer and for enterprises, so we understand the needs of developers and the needs of the thousands of enterprises they work for. Developers need tools and resources to produce quality, safe, and secure products, while enterprises need to trust the tools and resources to not introduce risk to their business.

For the last year, Stack Overflow and members of its community have been some of the few voices of balanced reason in the crowded AI space calling for quality sources of information with community attribution at the heart of this accuracy. From the vision of "Community + AI" to the findings of our annual Developer Survey to the launch of OverflowAI at WeAreDevelopers in Berlin. We continue to stand firm on our non-negotiables—quality and attribution of AI outputs are the only way to ensure accuracy and trust going forward and drive real time-savings for developers.

Stack Overflow, as a company, strongly believes that the community of the world's most engaged developers and technologists and the answers they share are what will ensure the success of AI's future. We believe AI has evolved from being a tool of developers to being a part of the community itself. AIs are more than the base knowledge or underlying "data" layer of the LLM or it's "experience" layer. Interacting with AI data or experiences in silos introduces risk and increases inefficiencies because it's kept separate. If, instead, individuals interacted with AIs like they were any other community member, transparently collaborating, building, and contributing knowledge, the entire community benefits. It is by combining data, human experience, and community that we are able to support developer needs.

Stack Overflow is now on a journey to create a new era in the practice of AI: the era of social responsibility. As we prioritize the continued growth of Stack Overflow for Teams accelerated by our GenAI offering, OverflowAI, the addition of time-saving new experiences on the Stack Overflow public platform through OverflowAI, and the expansion of our strategic partnerships—it is all through the lenses of developer flexibility, data quality/accuracy, and community attribution.

Looking forward to what we're using as our foundation for product development,

  • Quality, accurate, sourced data will be central to how technology solutions are built. Our goal with the recent introduction of OverflowAI is to ensure developers are not only contributing to the foundation of what GenAI is today, they are also an integral part of building its future.
  • The global tech community and societal pressures are driving LLM developers to consider their impact on the data sources used to generate answers. We believe LLM developers have an obligation to contribute back to the communities that create the data they leverage.

In 2024, we’re looking at how we can continue to enable developers and technologists by welcoming AIs into our ecosystem and providing paths for everyone to collaborate with AIs. Our alpha testers are trying out an early experiment, conversational search, and we're looking at doing more. AIs will become another member of the community—and the community can decide the quality, accuracy, and value of their contributions.

Our north star is offering a true collaboration between the individual, AIs, and a global community—working in unison to solve problems, save time/frustration for developers, and speed up innovation responsibly. Now is not the time for moving fast and breaking things because the people left fixing the broken things are the developers.

Through the next year, in addition to the AI focus, we'll also be focusing on improving how users onboard, engage, and benefit faster, expanding the types of content and experiences we have on our public platform, and multiple quality of life improvements for both Stack Overflow and Stack Overflow for Teams.

Keep an eye on Stack Overflow Labs, our hub for innovation and experimentation, for more details as we build out our roadmap and share insights into what is coming next on this new journey.


A bit about me:

I am excited to be the new(ish) Chief Product Officer at Stack Overflow. My role is to grow the product pieces of our work and set the site and the network on a path to build on the outstanding success of the first 15 years of the site. Previously I was an Operating Partner at Insight Partners, where I worked with leadership teams across a 750 company portfolio to help build R&D organizations and refine product strategy. Prior to that, I was the Chief Product Officer at Carbon Black where I led an R&D organization of over 550 people. I also held executive leadership roles at CA Technologies and Rally Software, in product management and product delivery.

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