Using AI for coding

When you consider how the future will look, do you think of flying cars, like in Back to the Future 2, and robot takeovers from Battlestar Galactica? Or does it look more like artificial intelligence and techie developments beyond our comprehension? With the rapid expansion of AI into our everyday lives, we’re taking a look at how artificial intelligence can impact how we approach coding.

Can AI write code?

Yes… and no. Artificial Intelligence has incredible capabilities, but it can only take you to a certain point and definitely can’t do the job for you. While it can write basic code it can’t write anything overly complex or intricate, because it can’t think like a programmer.

AI coding assistants exist, and these can help you better understand programming patterns and different languages.

They can also complete code automatically and suggest improvements and feedback. Fundamentally, the current tools that exist should be used to enhance the skills of a programmer, not replace them.

Benefits of using AI to code

There are definite benefits to using AI when coding, and as such there are drawbacks too. However, let’s look at some of the pros first:

  • It can speed up the coding process - by AI coding assistants undertaking some of the more repetitive tasks it would free up the programmer’s time to concentrate on more complex elements.
  • It can help find bugs more easily and improve code quality - AI tools are great at identifying bugs and errors in code and suggesting potential fixes and corrections.
  • It can help ignite creativity - these tools may be able to see amazing and pioneering ideas that human developers miss, leading to great advancements.
  • AI is being used to create new programming languages - this means that with their help software developers can create languages that are more accessible and easier to learn.

What to watch out for when using AI to code

Now, let's look at some of those hazards and pitfalls:

  • AI can get it wrong - always test and verify results, don’t just rely on the AI being correct. The AI tool is only as good as the data that is put in, so make sure you double-check the results that the tech gives you.
  • It could crash - as with all tech, crashes can happen. Make sure you know how to write the code and detect bugs yourself, then you’ll be ok if the unexpected happens.
  • Don’t be lured into using code you don’t understand - because AI can come up with code quickly don’t be tempted to use code you don’t understand. For example, if it crashes you won’t know to fix it.
  • The risk of ‘stealing’ someone else’s code exists - because these tools are trained using open-source code they basically reproduce code written by another project. As yet, we don’t know enough about the potential legal ramifications to foresee an outcome here, but time will tell if we start seeing companies being sued for plagiarism. 

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