[ExI] AI Could Soon Write Code Based on Ordinary Language

Dave Sill sparge at gmail.com
Thu Jun 3 13:04:53 UTC 2021

On Thu, May 27, 2021 at 3:27 AM John Grigg via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> "In recent years, researchers have used artificial intelligence
> <https://www.wired.com/tag/artificial-intelligence/> to improve
> translation <https://arxiv.org/abs/2006.03511> between programming
> languages or automatically fix problems <https://arxiv.org/abs/2005.10636>.
> The AI system DrRepair, for example, has been shown to solve most issues
> that spawn error messages. But some researchers dream of the day when AI
> can write programs based on simple descriptions from non-experts.

Ha. Dream on. I mean, sure, maybe someday...

> On Tuesday, Microsoft <https://www.wired.com/tag/microsoft/> and OpenAI
> <https://www.wired.com/tag/openai/> shared plans to bring GPT-3, one of
> the world’s most advanced models for generating text, to programming based
> on natural language descriptions. This is the first commercial application
> of GPT-3 undertaken since Microsoft invested $1 billion in OpenAI last year
> and gained exclusive licensing rights to GPT-3.
Har dee har har. The thought of GPT-3 writing code is hilarious and
frightening. Humans have a very hard time specifying what they want code to
do. Implementing the specs is pretty straightforward, but programmers know
that what people ask for is rarely what they really want. Add in
efficiency, reliability, security, maintainability, etc., and the task
becomes a lot more difficult.

> “If you can describe what you want to do in natural language, GPT-3 will
> generate a list of the most relevant formulas for you to choose from,” said
> Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in a keynote address at the company’s Build
> developer conference. “The code writes itself.”
Microsoft products are generally crap. That aside, sure, an AI could take a
spec like "write a program to accept an integer, calculate the factorial of
the integer and print the result". But real-world tasks are orders of
magnitude more complicated.

I see plenty of room for AI assistance, though.

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