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Quora Answer : When will AI start programming better than humans?

Oct 6, 2018

We've been using one computer program to help write another program since the invention of the first compilers.

We now have incredibly smart optimizing compilers which can probably write better machine code than any human could.

There'll always be a need for humans to define what a program should do.

How it's likely to play out (I think) is that we'll have more higher level languages to tell the computer exactly what we want. (These higher level languages will be increasingly declarative, and possibly quite mathematically abstract ... think things like Prolog). And then the computer will fill in more of the blanks between these specifications and the underlying code.

But high level abstract mathematical thinking is hard ... so the most obvious place more "AI" is going to be included is in the tools that help us come up with those specifications ... we'll start to have tools that are cleverer at eliciting what you really want, while pointing out to you the consequences of your choices.

I think within 10 years or so we'll see tools where you sketch a UI and the computer will figure what things you want in the UI and give you something working which can then be tweaked visually. We'll have tools where you give a rough sketch of a data-structure, or state-machine, or protocol, and then the computer will, conversationally, ask you enough extra questions to fill in the blanks / pin down the complicated edge cases of exactly what you want. And then build a version of that data-structure / protocol / state-machine for you.

AI won't replace people doing programming. But I'll place a bet on AI-empowered tools utterly transforming the way it's done in the not distant future.