Codex – a new artificial intelligence technology that can generate programs in 12 different coding languages, can be seen as a tech that will, someday soon, replace humans. But according to veteran programmers who tested it, that will not happen.
What is Codex?
Codex is an AI system that can translate natural language to programming code. It is developed by OpenAI, one of the world’s most ambitious research labs.
About 4 years ago, researchers at labs like OpenAI started designing neural networks that analyzed enormous amounts of prose and by pinpointing patterns in all that text, the networks learned to predict the next word in a sequence. The researchers also observed that the system they built could even write its own computer programs, short and simple in the beginning, learning to do so from an untold number of programs posted to the internet.
Then OpenAI went a step further, training a new system — Codex — on an enormous array of both prose and code. The result? A system that understands both prose and code — to a point.
Is Codex a threat to programmers?
Professional programmers, such as Tom Smith or Ania Kubow, tested the technology, searching for the answer to this very question. Their findings? After several weeks working with this new technology, Smith believes it poses no threat to professional coders. In fact, like many other experts, he sees it as a tool that will end up boosting human productivity. It may even help a whole new generation of people learn the art of computers, by showing them how to write simple pieces of code, almost like a personal tutor.
“This is a tool that can make a coder’s life a lot easier,” Smith said.
Codex can generate programs in 12 computer languages and even translate between them. But it often makes mistakes, and though its skills are impressive, it cannot reason like a human. It can recognize or mimic what it has seen in the past, but it is not nimble enough to think on its own. So it looks like Codex extends what a machine can do, but it is another indication that the technology works best with humans at the controls.
“AI is not playing out like anyone expected,” said Greg Brockman, chief technology officer of OpenAI. “It felt like it was going to do this job and that job, and everyone was trying to figure out which one would go first. Instead, it is replacing no jobs. But it is taking away the drudge work from all of them at once.”
For more details on the topic: https://medium.com/the-new-york-times/ai-can-now-write-its-own-computer-code-thats-good-news-for-humans-661fe86b85af