Hard Working Coders Love Code That Writes Itself

September 14, 2021

Code programmers are excited about an AI software that writes new code. The BBC investigates the software in, “Why Coders Love The AI That Could Put Them Out Of A Job.” Github revealed the new AI Copilot in June 2021. Users type code into Copilot, then it suggests how to finish it. Copilot is very intuitive and its suggestions are on par with what coders want.

Copilot has made waves in the coding community:

“It is based on an artificial intelligence called GPT-3, released last summer by OpenAI, a San Francisco-based AI lab, co-founded by Elon Musk. This GPT (which stands for generative pre-training) engine does a “very simple but very large thing – predicting the next letter in a text,” explains Grzegorz Jakacki, Warsaw-based founder of Codility, which makes a popular hiring test.

OpenAI trained the AI on texts already available online such as books, Wikipedia and hundreds of thousands of web pages, a diet that was “somewhat curated but in all possible human languages,” he says. And “spookily, it wasn’t taught the rules of any particular language,” adds Mr Jakacki. The result was plausible passages of text.”

Despite its accuracy, new AI always makes mistakes and anything Copilot suggests needs to be reviewed by real programmers. Instead of worrying about losing their jobs, coders are happy because Copilot helps them. Copilot edits their code for them and also provides instantaneous feedback as they write.

One problem that arises from Copilot is that it could write auto-generated code that someone already created. It also brings into question about how much code is original and comes from the source code and how to detect that. At the moment, Copilot is only writing short code passages, not full software. AI is a long way from evolving past human intelligence, but it can imitate basic behaviors.

Whitney Grace, September 14, 2021

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