An Artificial Intelligence Tool Is Helping Coders

Over the past year, AI has critically improved its ability to generate the written word. By scanning large datasets of text, machine learning software can produce convincing samples of everything from short stories to song lyrics. Now, those same strategies are being utilized to the world of coding with a brand new program known as Deep TabNine.

Deep TabNine is what’s generally known as a coding autocompleter. Programmers can install it as an add-on of their editor of choice, and when they start writing, it’ll recommend how to continue each line, providing small chunks at a time. Think of it as Gmail’s Smart Compose feature but for code.

Jacob Jackson, the computer science undergrad at the University of Waterloo who created Deep TabNine, says this kind of software isn’t new, however, machine learning has massively improved what it can offer. “It’s solved a problem for me,” he stated.

Jackson started work on the original version of the software, TabNine, in February last year before launching it that November. However earlier this month, he launched an updated version that makes use of a deep learning text-generation algorithm known as GPT-2, which was designed by the analysis lab OpenAI, to enhance its abilities. The update has critically impressed coders, who’ve called it “amazing,” “insane,” and “completely mind-blowing” on Twitter.

One consumer, Franck Nijhof, an IT supervisor who works on open-source home automation software in his spare time, says he wasn’t just shocked by Deep TabNine — he was scared, in a pleasant fashion. “The first hour I used Deep TabNine was not helpful [because] I was repeatedly stopped by amazement attempting to wrap my head around it,” Nijhof informed.

Edison Carroll

Edison Carroll

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