Hey folks, Jonas here writing again! I had a great time last week giving a talk at AllThingsOpen down in Raleigh, NC, and wanted to share some of the discussions I was a part of around AI and open source. For those who don’t know me, I’m the Head of Open Source Community Management over at VMware and I’m also the Executive Director at a non-profit called Hit Save! focused on video game preservation and history.
My presentation was called Community First: Using ChatGPT to Build Strong Open Source Communities. As someone passionate about open source, I wanted to share how AI tools like ChatGPT, Claude, Docsbot, Faster Whisper, and many more, could help bring people together.
I believe we all should acknowledge the concerns that many people have that AI may displace human jobs. However, I think the correct way to think about this is that AI will displace human tasks, not jobs. There are so many tasks that have already been automated in various industries, and it is already happening again.
While risks exist, I’m focused on AI’s potential to augment human abilities. I demoed automating repetitive tasks like taking notes and answering FAQs, something that’s a very common painpoint in many open source projects. We need to share information to the community as quickly and consistently as possible, and by using these tools it could give community managers, maintainers, and product managers more time for big picture strategy and community building.
AI can also quickly generate useful content like docs and translations. One example I used was feeding Kubernetes documentation URLs to Docsbot, then asking it questions that could only be answered with enough contextual “knowledge”, and it performed admirably. Another example was using Claude and DeepL to translate email sendouts from English to Japanese, German, Danish, and Swedish. I’m amazed by how well these perform, but also firmly believe they should be applied thoughtfully and responsibly. ALWAYS have a subject matter expert involved before shipping something to your community.
The human connection
I wrapped up by arguing AI will allow us to focus more on the human connections that are at the heart of communities. AI will help you utilize the most important non-renewable resource you will ever have, TIME. This is important to me both professionally at VMware, and with the retro gaming community we’ve built at Hit Save!
Overall it was a great chance to share and discuss with the wonderful crowd of fellow open source enthusiasts at AllThingsOpen. I’m very excited by AI’s possibilities while approaching it realistically and ethically. As both a technologist and community builder, I’m eager to foster thoughtful adoption of these tools.