AI Can Write Code Like Humans Bugs and All

Some software developers are now letting artificial intelligence help write their code. They’re finding that AI is just as flawed as humans.

Last June, GitHub, a subsidiary of Microsoft that provides tools for hosting and collaborating on code, released a beta version of a program that uses AI to assist programmers. Start typing a command, a database query, or a request to an API, and the program, called Copilot, will guess your intent and write the rest.

Alex Naka, a data scientist at a biotech firm who signed up to test Copilot, says the program can be very helpful, and it has changed the way he works. “It lets me spend less time jumping to the browser to look up API docs or examples on Stack Overflow,” he says. “It does feel a little like my work has shifted from being a generator of code to being a discriminator of it.”

But Naka has found that errors can creep into his code in different ways. “There have been times where I’ve missed some kind of subtle error when I accept one of its proposals,” he says. “And it can be really hard to track this down, perhaps because it seems like it makes errors that have a different flavor than the kind I would make.”

The risks of AI generating faulty code may be surprisingly high. Researchers at NYU recently analyzed code generated by Copilot and found that, for certain tasks where security is crucial, the code contains security flaws around 40 percent of the time.

The figure “is a little bit higher than I would have expected,” says Brendan Dolan-Gavitt, a professor at NYU involved with the analysis. “But the way Copilot was trained wasn’t actually to write good code—it was just to produce the kind of text that would follow a given prompt.”

Despite such flaws, Copilot and similar AI-powered tools may herald a sea change in the way software developers write code. There’s growing interest in using AI to help automate more mundane work. But Copilot also highlights some of the pitfalls of today’s AI techniques.

While analyzing the code made available for a Copilot plugin, Dolan-Gavitt found that it included a list of restricted phrases. These were apparently introduced to prevent the system from blurting out offensive messages or copying well-known code written by someone else.

Oege de Moor, vice president of research at GitHub and one of the developers of Copilot, says security has been a concern from the start. He says the percentage of flawed code cited by the NYU researchers is only relevant for a subset of code where security flaws are more likely.

De Moor invented CodeQL, a tool used by the NYU researchers that automatically identifies bugs in code. He says GitHub recommends that developers use Copilot together with CodeQL to ensure their work is safe.

The GitHub program is built on top of an AI model developed by OpenAI, a prominent AI company doing cutting-edge work in machine learning. That model, called Codex, consists of a large artificial neural network trained to predict the next characters in both text and computer code. The algorithm ingested billions of lines of code stored on GitHub—not all of it perfect—in order to learn how to write code.

OpenAI has built its own AI coding tool on top of Codex that can perform some stunning coding tricks. It can turn a typed instruction, such as “Create an array of random variables between 1 and 100 and then return the largest of them,” into working code in several programming languages.

Another version of the same OpenAI program, called GPT-3, can generate coherent text on a given subject, but it can also regurgitate offensive or biased language learned from the darker corners of the web.

Copilot and Codex have led some developers to wonder if AI might automate them out of work. In fact, as Naka’s experience shows, developers need considerable skill to use the program, as they often must vet or tweak its suggestions.

Hammond Pearce, a postdoctoral researcher at NYU involved with the analysis of Copilot code, says the program sometimes produces problematic code because it doesn’t fully understand what a piece of code is trying to do. “Vulnerabilities are often caused by a lack of context that a developer needs to know,” he says.

Some developers worry that AI is already picking up bad habits. “We have worked hard as an industry to get away from copy-pasting solutions, and now Copilot has created a supercharged version of that,” says Maxim Khailo, a software developer who has experimented with using AI to generate code but has not tried Copilot.

Khailo says it might be possible for hackers to mess with a program like Copilot. “If I was a bad actor, what I would do would be to create vulnerable code projects on GitHub, artificially boost their popularity by buying GitHub stars on the black market, and hope that it will become part of the corpus for the next training round.”

Both GitHub and OpenAI say that, on the contrary, their AI coding tools are only likely to become less error prone. OpenAI says it vets projects and code both manually and using automated tools.

De Moor at GitHub says recent updates to Copilot should have reduced the frequency of security vulnerabilities. But he adds that his team is exploring other ways of improving the output of Copilot. One is to remove bad examples that the underlying AI model learns from. Another may be to use reinforcement learning, an AI technique that has produced some impressive results in games and other areas, to automatically spot bad output, including previously unseen examples. “Enormous improvements are happening,” he says. “It’s almost unimaginable what it will look like in a year.”

Source: AI Can Write Code Like Humans—Bugs and All | WIRED

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6 Phrases That Make You Sound Unqualified In Job Interviews

When you finally land an interview for an exciting role or for a position you think might be out of your league, the main thing you want to do is get through it without blowing it. But surprisingly, so many qualified candidates chip away at their credibility in interviews because of how they present their skills or talk about their experience.

Here are six phrases you should avoid using in your interviews if you don’t want to sound less qualified:

“I know I’m not the most qualified person, but…”

Be wary of saying this, especially if you’re changing careers or applying for a role that’s out of your comfort zone. You may think saying this shows that you’re honest, humble, and honored to be interviewing for the role. But, saying this diminishes your value. If you tell the interviewer you don’t believe you’re qualified for the role, then they’re going to believe you. After all, you know yourself better than they do.

Landing an interview means that the interviewer believes you’re qualified enough, so don’t give them a reason to think otherwise. Instead, highlight the experiences, stories, and projects you’ve worked on that showcase your ability to excel in the role.

“I don’t have much experience with this, but…”

While this one is similar to the previous phrase, you may be tempted to use this if the interviewer inquires about a specific skill. For instance, one of my clients applied for a role that requested experience leading teams. Although she matched everything else and felt confident she’d be successful in the role, she doubted her leadership skills and thought that her years of experience managing a team of three wasn’t enough.

But as I shared with her, words stick, so even if you think you don’t have enough experience in one area, your language still matters. Instead of disqualifying yourself, go straight into the experience and skills you do have. Either show how your experience has prepared you to be an asset or show how your background has equipped you for this new challenge.

Filler words…

You may not even notice that you’re using the words “like” and “um” in your responses, but using filler words while talking about yourself can give the interviewer the impression that you’re not 100% confident about what you’re sharing. It can also chip away at your professionalism and make an interviewer question if you’d speak to clients or other stakeholders the same way if hired.

Of course, when you’re nervous, and your armpits are sweating, it can be hard to make sure those filler words aren’t slipping out. But, one helpful tip is to speak a bit more slowly and pause in between your statements. This will help you catch yourself rather than simply filling the air out of nervousness.

“What does your company do?”

If you don’t already know what the company does before you walk into an interview, then you probably don’t know how to meet their specific needs or solve their problems. This not only makes you come across as unqualified, but it’s also a red flag to the interviewer. Companies want to hire people who are excited about the role and the organization, and not knowing even basic facts about the company shows a lack of genuine interest in the organization.

On top of that, as an interviewee, not doing your research beforehand hinders you from standing out. So, take some time to not only analyze the job description but also read about the company.

“We…” 

Unless you and your team are interviewing for the role, you should not constantly use “we” in your interviews. Often, some corporate professionals fear taking ownership of the projects and initiatives their team accomplished together. But, not owning your individual contribution and saying “we” when describing your accomplishments erodes your experience and qualifications. It can cause the interviewer to question if you can questions

handle the role you’re interviewing for without your team. So, instead of falling back on your team, identify your specific results and the impact you delivered and then highlight that in your interviews with confidence.

Rambling or dancing around a question…

This isn’t a particular phrase, but dancing around a question and rambling can make you seem unsure about your skills and qualifications, even if you know you are qualified for the position. Particularly, when you ramble, you put the responsibility on the interviewer to take away the most important elements of your response. You also risk losing their attention, and the worst outcome is that they won’t care enough to ask again and will move on still unclear about what you can do.

To prevent dancing around a question and rambling, get clear on what you bring to the table before the interview and decide on the skills and stories you want to use to back up what you can do. If you are asked a question that catches you off guard, request clarification and lean into the value and skills you know qualify you for the role.

There are so many ways that qualified candidates disqualify themselves in interviews without even realizing it. Avoiding these phrases will ensure that you don’t sabotage your interviews and will increase your chances of standing out as a top candidate for the roles you desire.

Adunola Adeshola coaches high-achievers on how to take their careers to the next level and secure the positions they’ve been chasing. Grab her free guide.

Adunola Adeshola is a millennial career strategist. Through her signature coaching program, careerREDEFINED, she helps high-achievers navigate their job hunts and secure the positions they’ve been chasing. She also consults companies on how to improve their corporate culture to attract, engage and retain their employees. Along with Forbes, her expertise has been featured in The New York Times, Bloomberg, Fast Company and other publications.

Source: 6 Phrases That Make You Sound Unqualified In Job Interviews

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11 Self-Sabotaging Phrases To Drop From Your Vocabulary

Sometimes we say things to ourselves that aren’t in our self-interest. Calling yourself a loser or saying “I’m such an idiot” every time you make a mistake isn’t having a positive effect on your self-esteem (on the other hand, you should definitely try affirmations), but beyond the obviously negative self-talk, there are a host of things we say that hold us back more quietly.

While not as plainly negative as “I suck at everything,” these phrases sabotage us in a sneakier—but still damaging—way. Here are some words and phrases that work in the background to stealthily undermine us; things we’d be better off leaving behind when trying to reach our goals.

“I don’t have time”

Consider that it’s a misconception that we do or don’t “have time” for something, because we control what we prioritize. In actuality, we have time for things we make time for. Sometimes, “I don’t have time” can be a smokescreen for: “I don’t want to” or “I’m afraid.” When it comes to pursuing life goals, it’s easy to cite lack of time as a reason to not get started. But what if you dedicated just 10 or 20 minutes a day to start work on your next big goal?

“I don’t know how”

And where would we be if we only did things we knew how to do? Somewhere between Boringtown and Dead Inside-ville. It’s normal we don’t all know how to write a book proposal or run our own business. No one does when they first start. Instead of resting on the excuse that we don’t have some magical fount of necessary knowledge, we can get going on the what, and learn how as we go.

“I’m not ready”

This excuse is gold because it lets us off the hook. Most people will sympathize or corroborate our ironclad reasons for not taking action yet. The problem with “I’m not ready,” however, is that it assumes there is some magical time off in the future when we will be. But there isn’t.

Even if we earn more money, get more experience, or “settle down,” we still may not feel ready. Because it’s not really about those things, anyway. It’s about our relationship to fear, change, and the unknown. By all means, prepare before leaping. But if we spend spend too much time preparing, we may find ourselves in the same spot a year—or ten—from now.

“I’ll try”

In the words of the eternally wise Master Yoda, “Do or do not. There is no try.” Yoda uttered these words when training a young Luke Skywalker out of his surly lack of belief in himself. The concept applies to us non-Jedi knights as well. The words “I’ll try” contain an implicit lack of commitment.

It’s more comfortable to say we’ll “try” to do something, but it’s much more productive when we pick a side and hold ourselves accountable for taking the actions necessary to do the thing we said we’d do.

“Maybe”

“Maybe” is a great word to keep us stuck in the comfortable malaise of indecision. To avoid committing to bringing that casserole to book club, “maybe” away. But when it comes to bigger ambitions, there’s no better way to stop us in our tracks than with a weak-ass maybe. Saying “maybe” to something is still making a choice—a choice that leaves us in limbo and pushes the same choice further down the road. What if we decided now?

“I should…”

The word “should” is made of judgment. It implies that something is the right thing to do, and if it isn’t done, there will likely be negative consequences. Instead of using “should,” replace it with “I will.” After declaring what we will do, we can enjoy the empowered feeling of making a choice from possibility, rather than fear.

“If it happens, it happens”

While this phrase can at times be useful as an exercise in letting go of the outcome after putting your heart and soul into something. As a standalone, it implies we have zero self-agency or impact on a given outcome. The things we want most don’t just “happen.” They require vision, commitment, and repeated action.

“But so-and-so really needs me”

It’s a wonderful thing to help others. But there is such a thing as giving so much as to put us in a perpetual martyr position where there is no time, resources, or bandwidth left to improve ourselves. Are there places in your life where you’re over-functioning for someone or something else? Commit to taking back some of that time for you.

“I’m not smart/talented/brave enough”

As the story goes, Walt Disney was fired from the Kansas City Star because his editor felt he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” Where would we be today if he had internalized that feedback?

We all “lack” in some areas and are stronger in others. The good thing is, we don’t need to be champions of intellect, courage, financial prowess, and beauty to achieve things. Instead of comparing ourselves to others and despairing about our interpretation of the results, we can focus on what we know are our strengths. (P.S. Courage comes from practicing being brave. If we do little things we’re afraid of, our bravery muscle will grow.)

“Just my luck”

We might say it when there’s “crazy traffic” and we end up being late, but saying things are “just my luck” puts us solidly in the victim position, as if there’s nothing that can be done to change what “happens to” us.

Take the last thing that you were mad about. What could you have done differently to improve the outcome? Empowered change starts with taking full responsibility for our choices—and their consequences—both good and bad, rather than habitually blaming “bad luck.”

“If only…”

These two words often lead into a wish, hope, or a complaint. “If only I was younger.” “If only my rent were lower.” “If only I’d gone to a better college.” Phrases like these keep us in a state of fantasy and helplessness. They presume a certain set of conditions or circumstances that would perfectly set us up for a successful, happy life. (Recognizing this is impossible is actually quite freeing.)

Try shifting this statement into one of declarative action. “When I get my Master’s…” or “Tomorrow, I will…” and follow it up with one step you will take towards your goal.

Source: 11 Self-Sabotaging Phrases to Drop From Your Vocabulary

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These 5 Words Will Open Thousands of Doors For You

Every person is a world. Life at work, in business and even in the family is full of complex relationships, where each person has their own agenda, their own history and particular dimensions.

As we have seen previously, the projects that go ahead are not always the best; And those people who are right are not the ones who win the discussions, because the most important element in a communication process is not the content or the technique but, above all, the relationship and connection.

To be completely clear: your success doesn’t just depend on your talents or your ideas; Above all, it depends on you knowing how to forge relationships . Talent and ideas are necessary, but the relationships you form along the way give them direction, direction, power and dimension.

However, in the process of making our projects come true; be it our own businesses or projects in our company, we constantly find:

  • Closed doors.
  • People in high positions or unreachable.
  • Inaccessible uncomfortable people.
  • Adversaries or people who do not want us to do well.
  • People we would like to address, but we don’t know how.

How can we break down social and personal barriers to build bridges with people who can be part of our path?

A powerful phrase

The answer lies in this magical phrase that took me years to discover, and that today I am happy to share with you, hoping it will be useful to you. Remember that with great power comes great responsibility .

The opener phrase is this: Can I ask you for advice?

“Can I ask you for advice?” It is a simple and short phrase; easy to say, remember and repeat. It is a phrase that can be used constantly without losing its validity and, above all, has behind it the power of science to open the doors that until then were closed.

I have used it at different times where it seems to me to be in a dead end; where I lack answers or in which I feel that I need to form a closer relationship with a colleague, a superior, a subordinate and, even, someone who perceives me as his enemy.

After using it for a couple of years – with excellent results – I started recommending it to other people, who also reported their own success stories. Now I am sure that this is one of the most useful phrases in my professional life … and that it can also be in yours.

It is not about magic, but about communication and science. How does it work?

1. The Ben Franklin effect

The Ben Franklin effect is a known psychological effect to change the perception that others have of us by allowing them to do us a favor.

Yes, you heard right: let them do you a favor; not you to them.

It is, at first glance, counterintuitive. We may think that, to please, we must “do” favors, but it turns out that when others do us favors, it is proven that their perception of us improves, since considering ourselves worthy of their time and attention forces them to see ourselves in a more favorable light , as valuable and kind people.

They must be favors that are not heavy, annoying or expensive. For example, asking a colleague for a ride or letting him buy us a coffee… and simply thanking him, without making him feel bad and without seeking to pay him immediately. Receive a favor … and thank you! opens more doors than applause and flattery.

2. An elegant compliment

When asking for advice, the Ben Franklin effect is activated; But that is not all.

On the one hand, a tip is a favor or a service that costs nothing: it is free. Maybe they can deny you -for whatever reason- a ride or a coffee, but who can deny advice? Until now, for many years of using this phrase, I have never encountered someone who refuses to give advice that is asked with kindness and humility.

But there is still more! When it comes to asking for advice, we are asking for a favor as well as making a compliment. We are telling the other person that they are smart, that they are brilliant, that we respect them, and that their opinion is important . It is a gift to your own ego – a gift that no one will stop receiving. People, in general, like to be heard and taken into account.

That is why this phrase is magical. It seems like a favor, but it is also a gift.

3. Let the other shine

It can be personal advice, about work, about a project, or about an important decision. The key is to state the advice simply and clearly and then let the other speak, always respecting the 80/20 rule . When it comes to asking for advice, we are placing the conversation firmly on the other person’s court, letting them speak and express their own personality and history.

When you have asked for advice, do not make excuses or explanations. Answer the question they ask you, but soon return the voice to the other person.

A rule of life: everyone likes to talk about themselves. So it will also allow you to get to know him more and forge – without feeling forced – a real human relationship, one of friendship and trust. Without his realizing it … now they are part of the same team.

4. Peripatetic effect

When we ask another person for advice about something that interests us and we get them to be interested in it, it is possible that due to the effect of mirror neurons , which generate empathy and neural alignment between two people, both can find a solution to a real problem.

In this way, you will not only have strengthened the relationship, but you will also have a practical answer or tangible progress in your project. The best of all? The other person will feel that the idea was theirs – let them take all the credit! – and will defend and promote it with passion.

This is not a manipulative system, but a method of thinking called peripatetic , in which, through questions, we can help other people reach conclusions that they feel as their own . It is widely used in communication and negotiation. It can also be your great ally with the magic phrase.

5. Create real conversations

We waste too much time in innocuous and empty conversations, small talk to fill the time. But how much real conversations are needed! It is impressive what you can discover and achieve if you learn to master the art of conversation .

Nobody asks for advice on worthless things. We ask for advice on things that matter and concern us, that can peek into our privacy or explore big issues. The best friendships are born – says CS Lewis – when one person says to another “How? Do you also think that way? I thought I was the only one! ”

Asking for advice is one of the five avenues of wealth in silence and will help you forge business, personal and friendship relationships that will pave the way for a better life.

So now you know. When you find a closed door, the best key is to ask for advice.

Francisco García Pimentel

 

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Source: These 5 words will open thousands of doors for you

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Critics:

For businesses, this could mean: creating new ideas, new product development through research and development, or improving existing services. Innovation can be the central focus of a business and this can help them to grow and become a market leader if they execute their ideas properly. Businesses that are focused on innovation are usually more efficient, cost-effective, and productive.

Successful innovation should be built into the business strategy, where you can create a culture of innovation and drive forward creative problem-solving. Success is the state or condition of meeting a defined range of expectations. It may be viewed as the opposite of failure. The criteria for success depend on context, and may be relative to a particular observer or belief system. One person might consider a success what another person considers a failure, particularly in cases of direct competition or a zero-sum game.

Similarly, the degree of success or failure in a situation may be differently viewed by distinct observers or participants, such that a situation that one considers to be a success, another might consider to be a failure, a qualified success or a neutral situation. For example, a film that is a commercial failure or even a box-office bomb can go on to receive a cult following, with the initial lack of commercial success even lending a cachet of subcultural coolness.

The fields of probability and statistics often study situations where events are labeled as “successes” or “failures”. For example, a Bernoulli trial is a random experiment with exactly two possible outcomes, “success” and “failure”, in which the probability of success is the same every time the experiment is conducted. The concept is named after Jacob Bernoulli, a 17th-century Swiss mathematician, who analyzed them in his Ars Conjectandi (1713).

The term “success” in this sense consists in the result meeting specified conditions, not in any moral judgement. For example, the experiment could be the act of rolling a single die, with the result of rolling a six being declared a “success” and all other outcomes grouped together under the designation “failure”. Assuming a fair die, the probability of success would then be 1 / 6…

References

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