AI in Testing: Hip or Hype?

Here we are, discussing testing, a professional activity whose role includes figuring out what is really going on, whose philosophers talk about epistemology, the science of knowing, and no one is talking about how to figure out what is actually going on in AI as an accelerator of testing. It’s time we start. Starting with an explanation of how large language models (LLMs) actually work, Matt and Michael will build a conceptualization to help you understand what they are actually doing, and why they seem to work yet fail so spectacularly so often. After that they'll discuss some actual practical applications, including a few real examples from the field. The goal here isn’t to give you an answer -- it is to give you a feel for how to find out the answer Finally, we’ll put AI in context, compared to other veritable tsunami waves that were going to eliminate what came before. Some ideas in AI are hip; some are hype. Let’s start talking about how to know the difference.

Michael Larsen and Matt Heusser

Michael Larsen is a freelance software testing consultant. He is based in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA. Over the past three decades, he has been involved in software testing for a range of products and industries, including network routers & switches, virtual machines, capacitance touch devices, video games, and client/server, distributed databases & web applications. Michael is the co-author of "Software Testing Strategies" (Packt Publishing, 2023) along with Matt Heusser. He is also the producer and co-host of "The Testing Show" (also with Matt Heusser) for Qualitest. Michael writes the TESTHEAD blog ( A list of books, articles, papers, and presentations can be seen at

Matthew Heusser is the managing director at Excelon Development, and the co-author of Software Testing Strategies: A Guide for the 2020’s. He is also the 2014 recipient of the Most Influential Agile Test Professional Person (MAITPP) award in Potsdam Germany, a 2015 recipient of the Most Popular Online Contributor to Agile at the Agile Awards (Marble Arch, United Kingdom). Over the course his adult career in software, he has served two terms on the Association for Software Testing and delivered keynote speeches on the topic on three continents. Learn about Matt at