WordPress contributors discuss how core can improve AI innovation

As AI-powered technology is rapidly evolving to exponentially extend human capabilities, WordPress contributors don’t want the platform to be left behind. Building AI-powered websites could even become a threat to its existence, more than a competing CMS, if WordPress doesn’t ensure that the platform is easily pluggable for AI-powered extensions. A new thread on Core developer’s blog asks what WordPress can do to better enable AI innovation.

“WordPressCoreal always seeks to provide a stable foundation that people can directly build upon and extend as they see fit,” said Anne McCarthy, Sponsored Principal Contributor at Automattic. “Even if a new technology isn’t actually included in Core, the project aims to enable innovation and advancement through extension (plugins, themes, etc.) wherever possible and reasonable.”

McCarthy shared a video of what it might look like to integrate AI into Gutenberg’s experimental command center to create pages based on AI-prompted designs. She asked the contributors three questions:

  • How would you like to see Core updated so that it can be extended in ways accessible to AI technologies?
  • For those building, or trying to build, with AI today, how does Core currently enable or hinder this effort?
  • Are there any concerns that you think the community should be aware of as this space is explored?

WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg is optimistic about the prospect of further integrating AI into open source development.

“In 2015 I told you to master Javascript,” Mullenweg said last month in Post Status Slack. “I don’t have a catchphrase yet, but my message for 2023 will be to spend as much time as possible leveraging AI. The increases in productivity and capacity areAmazing. This is not a cycle of web3/crypto/widgets hype. It’s real.”

Mullenweg also encouraged WordPress professionals to consider how AI and open source can work together.

“Open source and artificial intelligence are the two megatrends of the next 30 years,” he said. “They complement each other and you should think deeply about how. ChatGPT can’t prepare Shopify code.

StellarWP Sponsored Contributor Matt Cromwell commented on the last background discussion, suggesting that AI innovation is best left to plugin developers.

“All of the AI ​​options currently require integration with a third-party system, some sort of pricing, and authentication. This clearly seems to me to be plug-in territory,” said Cromwell.

“The other concern here is that the current Core roadmap is very crowded. At what cost would the project pursue an AI integration? At the expense of multi-editing collaboration features? At the expense of multilingual features? I find it hard to imagine pursuing the current roadmap with excellence and stability AND also adding massive AI integration.”

Bluehost-sponsored contributor Jonathan Desrosiers, one of the post’s reviewers, clarified that the intention was to “fuel the discussion about what AI looks like in the WordPress ecosystem and how it might currently be blocked.”

“As you said, the roadmap is definitely full and adding new stuff shouldn’t be done unless there are extremely compelling reasons,” Desrosiers said. “But, if there are small changes that can be made in Core (new filters or actionhooks, etc.) to allow plugins to experience better and enrich AI integrations in the WordPress world, I think we should certainly consider them.”

Cromwell suggested that WordPress could add a settings panel for integrating various APIs, such as payment gateways and OpenAI API keys, to prevent conflicts and make it easier to use APIs across multiple plugins.

Rob Glidden proposed that contributors consider having AI chatbots as a user type for the future collaboration workflow within WordPress:

I would suggest considering AI chatbots as (just another) user type in the upcoming Phase 3 collaboration/workflow.

I for one want an AI chatbot in my multi-user collaboration team in a WordPress stage 3.

In the multi-user collaborative workflows already described in Phase 3 Collaboration it seems that basically the same infrastructure should work for both human and AI users.

In fact, it’s not a huge effort reading that document to think of users, collaborators, and creators as bot users, assigned and performing tasks within a workflow.

CodeWP Sponsored Contributor James LePage echoed Cromwell’s concerns that focusing too much on AI integration could make WordPress less competitive on features that have already been identified for Gutenberg’s Phase 3 roadmap:

As some others have said here, like WP userI would much prefer a really strong focus on existing Phase 3 roadmap elements as I think it would make our CMS much more valuable and competitive against other tools out there, instead of integrating AI in some way.

Another thing is that there are really no standards here. There are great players, but they keep changing the way their AI works and probably will continue to do so. We would be trying to hit a moving target.

As scattered as WordPress contributors are across the project’s current Gutenberg roadmap of goals and improvements, you don’t get to choose when new technology is crashing into your industry, forcing you to take action, or becoming obsolete. The WordPress community has built a robust ecosystem of plugins, but leaving it all to third-party integrations may not be enough to keep the software relevant for years to come. Ensuring that WordPress is compatible with the future of AI-powered innovation is critical if contributors want the platform to continue to be the best CMS and website builder available on the web.

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