Thursday, July 13, 2017

Remember How We Told Kids They Had To Learn To Code? About That...

From TechCrunch, June 27:
Diffblue, a University of Oxford spin-out, raises $22M Series A to bring AI to software development
Oxford University continues to be a hotbed of AI talent, fuelling not just academic research into AI but also the ambitions of startups and large technology companies alike. The latest Oxford-based AI startup to make headlines is Diffblue, a University of Oxford spin-out that is applying Artificial Intelligence (AI) to software development.

The young company has raised $22 million in Series A funding, one year since leaving academia. The round is led by Goldman Sachs Principal Strategic Investments, alongside Oxford Sciences Innovations (OSI), and the Oxford Technology and Innovations Fund (OTIF).

Born out of ten years of research, Diffblue describes its core AI as being able to build an exact mathematical model of any code base, with just a few examples provided. The resulting model then allows a deep semantic understanding of what a computer program is trying to do, from which a number of aspects of software development can be automated. Initially, Diffblue are working on three products built on the core AI engine.

The first is a testing product that automatically spots bugs and writes tests, which is one of the lower-hanging and most laborious parts of quality software development. It’s also a crucial one, especially for mission-critical applications where a software failure can cost lives or huge amounts of money.
The second Diffblue product in the works is a security product that automatically flags up exploitable bugs and generates tests for those bugs.

The third product is a refactoring product that automatically rewrites badly expressed or out of date code (think: an AI that can automatically upgrade a codebase to support the latest implementation of a programming language or framework)....MORE
See also June's "The long, slow, rotten march of progress":
The new world, dragging itself sticky and stinking out of the swamps, has an answer for all your problems: you should learn to code. The old certainties are gone, the natural world is dying, and the sun that once looked down on us is being blacked out by an endless swarm of automated delivery drones. You can no longer expect forty years of drudgery and then a spluttering death from good old-fashioned blue-collar pneumoconiosis. You can’t make it through life hating your boss instead of yourself, not when new forms of labour discipline demand that you be your own boss. Your flesh is already obsolete. But there’s an answer: to survive in the coming era of automation, you have to bring it in faster; announce its apocalypse, learn to code, add yourself to the army of programmers building an appier tomorrow....MORE