A few weeks ago, I went to an office in the Mission District of San Francisco to get an advance peek at a computer program that promises to disrupt computer programming. I was visiting OpenAI, a company devoted to "artificial general intelligence" (as opposed to humans, who have, at least on good days, non-artificial general intelligence). Their latest creation is called Codex, and it writes computer code, in some instances very well.
I was impressed as OpenAI CTO Greg Brockman and his fellow cofounder Wojciech Zaremba, who is a key creator of Codex, took it through its paces in a live demo. They asked Codex to express some text, grab some images, make a web page, and put the page on the internet. Then, employing the casual language one might use in conversation, they built a simple game by grabbing web-based images of helicopters and getting them to fly across the screen and blast enemies. As the game took shape feature by feature, I realized I was viewing a transformation of the famous "flow state" that good coders feel when they get rolling. Until now that flow involved an intense inner dialog. Now it's more like a conversation with a robot companion.\
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