Worth Reading: AI Does Not Help Programmers

On the Communications of the ACM web site, Bertrand Meyer argues that (contrary to the exploding hype) AI Does Not Help Programmers:

As a programmer, I know where to go to solve a problem. But I am fallible; I would love to have an assistant who keeps me in check, alerting me to pitfalls and correcting me when I err. A effective pair-programmer. But that is not what I get. Instead, I have the equivalent of a cocky graduate student, smart and widely read, also polite and quick to apologize, but thoroughly, invariably, sloppy and unreliable. I have little use for such supposed help.

Not surprisingly, my experience is pretty close to what he’s describing. AI is the way to go if you want something that looks reasonable (at a first glance), but not if you want to get something right. Unfortunately, there’s a bit of a difference between marketing and engineering: networks that are configured 90% correctly sometimes fail to do what you expect them to do.

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