We have seen a massive paradigm shift in the field of software development during the past decade. It was once thought to be a field where developers with years of study in this field were the only ones capable of accessing complex servers. Now, it has become a boot camp where web developers are sprouting every few weeks. At present, we’re possibly undergoing another paradigm shift involving AI-based code generation. When we reach this stage, perhaps a new era of web development will rise where humans will be replaced by AI bots.
There are many AI bots understudy that can write short algorithms but this program writing AI is still in its infancy. Researchers have trained these AI bots on thousands of program examples. They learn to write short, complex programs, while other algorithms fill in the blanks with the right subprograms. These bots are smart enough to switch from statistical patterns to symbolic reasoning wherever needed.
How competent are these AI bots? How do they compare with humans?
According to the creators of this technology, these bots are good at composing the structure but a little faulty when it comes to details. The benefit that humans can get from these neural nets is that they can save their time by handing over the more complex structural work to them while they can fill in the blanks by search programs. The end product will be a complete program that is capable of giving you the right answers.
This is a breakthrough in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) and has the potential of making web development which is a rather time-consuming and taxing task, a much easier one for researchers.
How can they do so? A bot can act as a search engine for coding, where researchers can enter just a few keywords and visualize how a certain code will look like on the front end. These bots can work efficiently with only a little information and will guess how the programmers want the result to be and create just that.
Bayou is an AI-based coder that has learned to write codes from millions of human written codes and can draw inferences based on these codes. The method is called neural sketch learning which helps AI networks to pinpoint patterns in human written codes and generate similar codes.
DeepCoder is another project under test and developed by Microsoft. This bot aids programmers by solving complex coding queries by searching bulks of code from large databases. DeepCoder can just write small lines of code for now but shows immense potential according to its creators.
Commit Assistant is another AI tool that can help programmers pinpoint errors in their coding process. This assistant has a huge library of codes to learn from and identifies how mistakes were made in the past and alert researcher’s before a potential mistake.
Developing software is a tedious and expensive job. Although AI can make it cheaper and easier then there is no reason why AI tools should not be used. These AI assistants like Bayou and DeepCoder help make the whole process easier but can they think like humans, the answer, for now, is a no. It will be a long time before AI tools replace human web developers as they are not yet capable of writing original algorithms and solving problems like humans. However, this technology is not driven by emotions and won’t make logical errors. They do need to be pointed in the right direction and this is where developers come into play.