OpenAI creates a ChatGPT-like tool called Codex that can write software. For this reason, Codex will not replace developers and instead create greater demand for their skills.

  • OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which can respond to questions with human-like responses, is gaining popularity.
  • The same company is also behind Codex, a tool that automates the writing of software code.
  • Experts say software development skills will still be needed for the foreseeable future.

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OpenAI is all the rage these days as the company’s intelligent chatbot, ChatGPT, captured the imagination and asked people what role artificial intelligence will play in the future. The same company has also developed a lesser-known service called Codex that could completely change the way developers work.

Using data collected from the web, ChatGPT can answer almost any question (although not always accurately) – and with an answer that looks like it was written by a human. The codex is similar, except it writes software code instead of English sentences. Tell Codex what type of software problem you are trying to solve and Codex will offer you a solution with a code sequence.

If an AI department can now write code for developers, how will that affect computer science students and will high-paying software engineering jobs disappear? Still, software engineering skills will remain in high demand, and AI services like Codex are just a natural step as programming gets easier from one generation to the next, according to academics and technology experts. computer education.

Codex has been available to developers since 2021 in the form of GitHub Copilot. And OpenAI, which has raised more than $10 billion from Microsoft and others, has recently invested more in Codex, hiring more than 1,000 contractors to write code and associated descriptions that will help Codex become a better programmer, Semafor reported.

Codex and ChatGPT are a “huge productivity booster,” and many programmers are already using Codex in their daily workflow, said Christopher Manning, professor of computer science and linguistics at Stanford University. Just because Codex can write basic functionality to make an engineer’s life easier doesn’t mean it can suddenly write entire apps on its own, he added.

Each generation makes programming easier

When you think of Codex, you have to understand that coding has gotten easier with each generation, says Hadi Partovi, CEO and co-founder of educational nonprofit, which creates programs for computer science classes. from kindergarten to 12th grade.

“The programming started with punch cards,” Partovi said. “We don’t use punch cards anymore.” After that, programmers started typing with keyboards using a programming language called Assembly, a low-level language that communicates directly with a machine’s architecture.

Similarly, Codex further simplifies some software engineering tasks. Programmers don’t have to spend as much time doing tedious work as others have done a million times, but they do need to understand the code produced by a tool like Codex, Partovi said. Developers who use Codex or a similar tool and cannot explain what their code does will not become productive engineers.

The Codex can fill in lines of code, but developers still need to understand the basics of solving a technical problem in the first place.

“I’m sure it will make engineering easier,” Partovi said. “Then we have more engineers and more software development. The demand for technology is limited only by the supply of engineers.

Create the next big thing

A big concern for the next generation of programmers is that students will use a program like Copilot to write code for them and then feel discouraged by the idea that the program can do the job on its own, said Cynthia Lee, master of computer science conferences. Sciences at Stanford University. She says she has already received assignments from students that she is sure were completed with the Codex.

Lee worries that Codex will discourage students who are struggling to complete their assignments. Tools like Copilot are “an exacerbation of a problem we’ve always faced, which is how to get people to do the tasks they need to learn,” she said.

“It just requires a lot of discussion with the students about the real basis of Why are we here?” said Lee.

Codex is a power multiplier that can speed up programming work, but more often than not it spits out code that people have already written by collecting data from existing software packages. Still, Lee is generally optimistic about the technology and stresses the importance of continuing to build software development skills for students.

“There will always be a limit to recreation,” Lee said.

Codex can accelerate innovation

The benefit of tools like Codex is that they can replace the manual search developers typically have to do on the web to find ways to debug their code and find software packages that support the code they write. said Stanford professor Manning.

For example, programmers can use the Python programming language to parse text on a web page. With Codex, they can simply write a comment requesting a piece of code to perform this task, and the service will return it.

“Even for people in this field, the speed at which these models have improved and the success they are having is frankly surprising,” Manning said. “But these models are absolutely not perfect, and if you are not able to notice when something is wrong and generate the wrong code, or if there is always an error, then you are not going to be a productive software developer.”


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I tried to use ChatGPT to write this article

If there’s one tech trend dominating the conversation in 2023, it’s generative AI. Look no further than your LinkedIn feed; He’s probably inundated with the latest tips on how to use generative AI to “work smarter, not harder” or “10x your impact with three simple tips!”. It was thanks to the recent launch of ChatGPT that we opened the floodgates. As many have pointed out, the user-friendly interface and quick responses are reminiscent of Arthur C. Clarke’s quote: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

As I sat down to write this article, I decided to open ChatGPT and submit a command prompt – just to see what would come back. “Write a 750-word article about how AI is becoming the ‘digital gateway’ for brands,” I wrote, “and make it look like a quick corporate article. ”

At first glance, the result was quite impressive. If I had decided to submit the article written by ChatGPT, no one would have guessed that a computer program would spit it out in 15 seconds. (Fortunately, some very smart people are already developing technology to tell AI-written parts from human parts; GPTZero is a prime example.) sustained analytics for cost reduction. He also encountered the usual challenges: confidentiality, security and offshoring of jobs.

I could have just cut and pasted the content. Aside from ethical and journalistic standards (and these are very big anecdotes), why not? Why shouldn’t I rely on this magical technology to get the desired result? Here’s the problem: while ChatGPT did a good job of laying out the basic structure of a thought-provoking article, it lacked creativity, unique perspective, and insight. That said, the things that make writing and communicating really feel were missing. human. There wasn’t a spark of life in this article for you, the reader, to look beyond the first paragraph. This is definitely not the result I was looking for.

Generative AI should be used for better business results

Of course, my experience here was just an experiment. Still, there are a few considerations I needed to think about, especially as we enter a world that will see a dazzling array of AI-powered interactions. (Even before ChatGPT, Gartner predicted in mid-2022 that by 2027, chatbots would become the primary customer service channel for a quarter of businesses.) First, authors don’t disappear overnight. But in general, consumers are looking for experiences from companies that treat them the same People, even if they use AI to do so. And companies will want to turn these human experiences into experiences. better business results.

As the person who invented web chat for brands in the 90s, I spent a lot of time talking to brands about how they could achieve better business results. To be honest, getting them to understand and learn about AI was a hurdle. The launch and enthusiasm for ChatGPT makes this part of my job easier. Now is the time to change the conversation: if you’re excited about generative AI, do you know how and why you can use it to legitimately drive better business results?

For example, if a customer comes to your digital front door and asks one of the following questions, the AI ​​you use to manage that front door should respond in a mutually beneficial way:

I am someone who buys presents at the last minute. What can you recommend?

I am the traveler whose baggage you lost. how do you bring it back to me

I am a caregiver helping a loved one with health issues. When can I redeem this prescription?

You can’t just answer these questions with “the right words” pulled from the public internet (like ChatGPT does). Instead, you should think deeply about whether your AI-powered experiments are set up to deliver results:

  • Does AI only write speeches that sound good? Not good enough. He must also be able to unearth commercial information that influences your strategy.
  • Is it trained using commonly available information? If so, you’re simply giving your customers the same experience as any other business. Instead, you need to ensure that your unique business needs and interests are reflected in the dataset your AI uses to drive the conversation.
  • Do you have staff in the loop to ensure your experiments are both accurate and optimized? (OpenAI outsourced this to Kenya for $2 an hour, as reported by a TIME survey that raised some concerns).
  • Does AI produce unbiased answers? Biases can be dangerous for your customers and deadly for your brand. Consider how you can start working within ethical frameworks such as those developed by organizations like EqualAI.

With every technological advance, wild promises are thrown from every corner that obscure the real work that needs to be done. Today’s “AI influencers” are no different, and it’s time to take a step back and take stock of how business leaders can break through their hype and deliver real results. . That being said, there is another lesson from my failed article writing project that makes me excited for the future: Every experiment we try brings us one step closer to those top results.


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