Despite the hype, especially around self-driving cars, AI is writing code, designing Google chip floor plans, and telling us how much to trust it.
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Given just how much of the AI hype is just that—hype—it’s easy to forget that a wide range of companies are having real success with AI. No, I’m not talking about Tesla’s continued errant marketing of AI-infused “full self-driving.” As analyst Benedict Evans writes, “[V]ersion nine of ‘Full Self-Driving’ is shipping soon (in beta) and yet will not in fact be full self-driving, or anything close to it.” Rather, I’m talking about the kinds of real-world examples listed by Mike Loukides, some of which involve not-so-full self driving.
To make AI work, you’re going to need money and good data, among other things, a recent survey suggests. Assuming these are in place, let’s look at a few areas where AI is making headway in making our lives better and not merely our marketing.
Write my code for me
The most visible recent experiment in enhancing human productivity with machine smarts is GitHub’s Copilot. Similar to how your smartphone (or things like Gmail) can suggest words or phrases as you type, Copilot assists developers by suggesting lines of code or functions to use. Trained on billions of lines of code in GitHub, Copilot promises to improve developer productivity by allowing them to write less, but better, code.
It is way too soon to know if Copilot will work. I don’t mean whether or not it can do what it purports to do; many developers rushed to try it out and have lauded its potential. And yet, there are concerns, as Simon Bisson points out:
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