AI learns to write code the old-fashioned way: stealing!


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/02/23/ai-learns-to-write-code-the-ol.html


#2

The big issue with AI is going to be that the lowest cost approach will disseminate itself first.

So - in relative terms (which is not optimal!) - cheap, bad programmers create the platform for the AI. And then this happens! Natch, tip o’ the iceberg.


#3

Here is what is telling -

Does it leave the comment lines acknowledging who wrote it first.
Does it add its own comment line saying what was modified.
Does it remove all the old comments and change the names of the variables and change the spacing slightly. Then add a comment staying it wrote it.


#4

I’d ask it to produce me a game about a dystopian world where no code is maintainable anymore, 'cause it was written by AIs.


#5

Dammit, where was this at college when I needed it, eh? Eh?


#6

Code written by AIs is only one notch more maintainable than code written by math PhDs.


#7

My God, talk about landmark copyright issues! If an AI steals culture, can they sue it? Can they sue the owner of the software… or the hardware? Is code copyrightable, and if so, does the same law protect the AI?


#8

This sounds like a testing and verification nightmare. Also a security nightmare.

Who’s going to unit test the code? Who’s going to make sure the AI didn’t steal a function with some, ah, quirky extra features? Even if there’s nothing malicious in the code, how do you check it does what it’s supposed to and nothing else?

Most of all: when the AI screws up, whose fault is it – the person who created and fed it the specs, or the person who configured the AI to understand the specs and generate the code?


#9

While ‘AI goes off the rails, who takes the blame’ is a wonderful well of thought experiments; until somebody shakes up the legal system pretty dramatically; I suspect that the real-world outcomes will be pretty prosaic.

At present, the only difference between ‘AI’ and ‘that POS shell script I bashed out in 10 minutes’ is that things we call ‘AI’ are complex enough that it’d be easier to argue that whatever went horribly wrong was an unforseen accident, rather than a direct result of the script doing what I wanted it to.

Legal recognition of the agency of AIs would…change things…Substantially; but until that happens, the only real grey area is whether a given mechanism is predictable enough that what it does directly reflects its user’s will, is unpredictable enough that accidents happen; or is so unpredictable that accidents definitely happen and deploying it in the wild constitutes some sort of negligence.


#10

Has anyone ever told you that you’d be absurdly well qualified to do plot and background writing for whatever Deus Ex game is coming out next?

Because you would.


#11

So it’s an AI that can use Stack Overflow.


#12

80/20 rule applies here, people. Do we really need to pay someone in 2017 to build a todo list app?


#13

Wait til you see MY facile references to topical real-world civil rights issues!


#14

Ouch! Sick burn.


#15

Oh my God JC a burn!


#16

Pretty much describes the interaction between marketing and the offshore dev-team; although “non-coders” applies to both sides and “build it” applies for certain, limited definitions of the term “build” that includes “fails with lots of errors and warnings.”


Don’t try to teach your grand-mother to suck eggs

  1. lowest price
  2. schiller thruway
  3. bleeker lancaster
  4. lowest interest
  5. latest clearance
  6. better trust
  7. smaller gusset
  8. closer look
  9. latest softwares
  10. mailer amiga
  11. spinnaker cowmen
  12. tinker haberman
  13. wheller clientele
  14. fourier classificatory

[emphasis added]


#17

Came here with some of the same thoughts: does it paste the link to the stack overflow thread with the original code snippet?

If so, we may yet survive the coming robot apocalypse.


#18

Why? “Rosicrucians, billionaire perverts, and the complete dissolving of all culture by internet-mediated telepathy” is pitch-perfect for a Deus Ex backstory; and the intricate background of conspiracy theories is easily the best part of the story and flavortext in that series.

The generic gravelly-voiced protagonists aren’t pretty dull; but the wheels-within-wheels stuff is great fun.


#19

I have never been on that thruway, but it seems plausible

Sounds like an ad agency

Norman Mailer seemed like an old-school manual typewriter kind of guy. I can’t picture him using an Amiga.

Sailing meets cattle ranching. I’m not sure what to make of this, but it’s leading in a homoerotic direction.

That one’s a law firm.

Weller manufactures soldering irons. Since I know that without even thinking about it, that makes me the Weller clientele.

So basically, transforming a signal into the frequency domain in order to categorize it?


#20

Hooray! Now I can get poorly documented, unmaintainable code fashioned for me in an automated fashion instead of having to put up with hand crafted, artisanal poorly documented, unmaintainable code.

(The idea that programmers are slapping together code solely by gluing together snippets they find off the internet without having a deeper understanding of what the code is doing sure is insulting. I mean, it may be true for some coders given some of the code I’ve seen in my life, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t also insulting.)