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Will Coding Be Less Important?


Will Coding Be Less Important?

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Steve Jones
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Comments posted to this topic are about the item Will Coding Be Less Important?

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Jeff Moden
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I guess my question would be... why do people think that AI is going to do well? Someone has to write the AI code and, according to what I've seen in a whole lot of code, we'll be in deep trouble with AI. Even the automotive industry, which used to be known for "no fail" implementations has started to fail especially when it comes to software.

--Jeff Moden

RBAR is pronounced ree-bar and is a Modenism for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column.
If you think its expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur. -- Red Adair

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"eventually we'll tell systems what we want and they'll build algorithms"

Does not quite work even with actual people. :-)
In fact, they build algorithms, but usually it's not exactly what you expected when forming a request.
Dave Poole
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15 years ago I specialised in content management systems. My colleagues and I found ourselves wanting to program at a lower level and effectively reversed engineered the way that the CMS interacted with the database in order to get the desired result.
When we gained more experience we found that the CMS supported what we wanted to do natively. Those man weeks we had spent coding, testing and integrating could have been achieved in hours if we had known more about the CMS features. There was also an aspect of trusting the CMS framework.

As developers we were too quick to dive down to the low level. This is a pattern I have seen in many applications. Diving down into the code/script facility of ETL tools, bypassing the features of an ORM that actually turns it into a safe productive tool (usually the letter M). In the SQL Server world there is inappropriately writing SQL in a way to force an execution plan thus blocking any benefits that come with upgrades to the query engine.

The level of programming that is required for standard business computing is far more accessible now than it ever was before. Things that are simple drag/drop with simple method calls used to require serious heavy-weight programming and an uphill struggle with MFC.

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Tom Gillies
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I agree with the tone of the earlier comments. My response would be "coding will morph into something else", or something that is called something else. Two of the really difficult things are: deciding what you want to represent - "the Model" and deciding and then expressing what you actually want to do with it. Both of those remain hard.

Does anyone else remember "The Last One"? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_One_(software) :-)
This was supposed to be "The last program you needed to write"! in 1981! Substitute your favourite 4GL or other program generator techology for "The Last One".

Past experience in IT and other industries indicates that it takes a long time for something like "coding" to go away completely. The places where such activities go away first are where the product is standard and process repetitive - we see that again and again in IT. The places where these activities remain are where fundamental decisions are needed and where we are pushing close to the limits of something.

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Jeff Moden
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David.Poole - Monday, June 4, 2018 2:19 AM
Those man weeks we had spent coding, testing and integrating could have been achieved in hours if we had known more about the CMS features. There was also an aspect of trusting the CMS framework.

This is why I say that little play on words of "Just because you can do something in SQL, doesn't meant you shouldn't". SQL Server is a remarkable tool that a lot of people try to avoid from the front end or brute force things with PowerShell, etc, and then wonder why their code is slow and difficult to maintain.

In the SQL Server world there is inappropriately writing SQL in a way to force an execution plan thus blocking any benefits that come with upgrades to the query engine

Worse than that, I find that a lot of people write SQL that blocks any benefits that come with the product as it currently is.


--Jeff Moden

RBAR is pronounced ree-bar and is a Modenism for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column.
If you think its expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur. -- Red Adair

Helpful Links:
How to post code problems
How to post performance problems
Forum FAQs
Sergiy
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Every compiler is a code generator.
A generator of Machine code - aka Assembler.

Telling a machine what to do and let it find a way to execute the request - it's not AI.
It's rather "SELECT * FROM Customer".
May be some of you heard of that declarative language.
It's been around for quite a while.

AI would be for a machine to figure out the query, to form the task by itself.
To do what developers/BAs/PMs/CEOs, etc. do.

But if humans made a machine smart enough to figure out targets, purposes, then there is no guarantee it will figure out humans' purposes, not the one of its own.

In the end of the day, AI is about making a machine to operate as a human.
If successful - it will make another set of human like minds,
Trying to make them follow our orders - well, there is a name for it - slavery.
We've been there as a society, and moved out of there.

Replacing a developer using an organic bio-computer (aka brain) with another one using a synthetic one (probably bio one as well) won't change a lot.
Don't you think?
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Jeff Moden - Sunday, June 3, 2018 7:54 AM
I guess my question would be... why do people think that AI is going to do well? Someone has to write the AI code and, according to what I've seen in a whole lot of code, we'll be in deep trouble with AI. Even the automotive industry, which used to be known for "no fail" implementations has started to fail especially when it comes to software.

They think it's going to do well simply because it's learning trial by fire. The exact issues we have with not knowing how to communicate something is exactly what AI is going to help solve. It's going to spend every second of it's life trying to figure out the best way to communicate it from user input. The more user input, the better.

Does that mean it won't fail? Humans fail, so will machines. It's going to fail on the implementation level and it's going to fail on the learning level. We are aiming for the learning level more because like humans, the more we fail, the more we learn. Machines will be no different in that regard. We can only hope that with each fail, it does get smarter and the AI engine uses that information to make smarter and better decisions a human would make.

However, this is a long time coming and we have yet to really scratch the surface of AI. This is ideally where the marketing hype is confusing people. We still have a long time before we really start reproducing the human brain. Even if that was successfully accomplished tomorrow, we still have a long way to go before even a small percentage of that is implemented widespread. There is simply too many applications for it and adoption is often extremely slow on new tech.

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The idea of machine generated coding very much reminds me of 4th generations languages being touted as the answer to everything back in the late 80s/early 90s. They work for simple tasks that don't require extensive customization for a business but the idea of bypassing a trained coder didn't always work well.

AI has a good deal of potential and is a fascinating endeavor but even with recent advancement there seems to be a long way to go that its influencers don't easily admit. As to AI replicating
human intelligence, two good reads on the subject are The Emperor's New Mind & Shadow of The Mind, both by Roger Penrose. Penrose argues that we are very far from achieving an AI that
comes close to the complexity of the human mind. With that said, AI could be a very good tool now and in the future but there could be a good deal of catastrophe that comes along with it.
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xsevensinzx - Monday, June 4, 2018 6:01 AM
Jeff Moden - Sunday, June 3, 2018 7:54 AM
I guess my question would be... why do people think that AI is going to do well? Someone has to write the AI code and, according to what I've seen in a whole lot of code, we'll be in deep trouble with AI. Even the automotive industry, which used to be known for "no fail" implementations has started to fail especially when it comes to software.

They think it's going to do well simply because it's learning trial by fire. The exact issues we have with not knowing how to communicate something is exactly what AI is going to help solve. It's going to spend every second of it's life trying to figure out the best way to communicate it from user input. The more user input, the better.

Does that mean it won't fail? Humans fail, so will machines. It's going to fail on the implementation level and it's going to fail on the learning level. We are aiming for the learning level more because like humans, the more we fail, the more we learn. Machines will be no different in that regard. We can only hope that with each fail, it does get smarter and the AI engine uses that information to make smarter and better decisions a human would make.

However, this is a long time coming and we have yet to really scratch the surface of AI. This is ideally where the marketing hype is confusing people. We still have a long time before we really start reproducing the human brain. Even if that was successfully accomplished tomorrow, we still have a long way to go before even a small percentage of that is implemented widespread. There is simply too many applications for it and adoption is often extremely slow on new tech.


Heh... hopefully those smart machines won't figure out the real cause of problems... humans. BigGrin

--Jeff Moden

RBAR is pronounced ree-bar and is a Modenism for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column.
If you think its expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur. -- Red Adair

Helpful Links:
How to post code problems
How to post performance problems
Forum FAQs
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