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Former Facebook engineer says coding with an AI copilot is like working with a 'demigod'

Erin Snodgrass   

Former Facebook engineer says coding with an AI copilot is like working with a 'demigod'
  • A former Facebook executive says coding alongside an AI copilot is a "mind meld."
  • Aditya Agarwal described the copilot coding experience in a Thursday post on X.

A former Facebook director is praising AI's prowess, likening the technology's co-pilot coding ability to a religious experience.

In a Thursday post on X, Aditya Agarwal attempted to describe the feeling of coding alongside a large language model co-pilot.

"It's like someone has jacked up your own abilities by an order of magnitude, while achieving a complete mind meld with what you're trying to do," he wrote.

Agarwal was one of Facebook's first engineers, serving as director of product engineering at the company from 2005 to 2010. He was instrumental in the development of several Facebook staples, including search, news feed, and messenger, according to his LinkedIn.

After leaving Facebook, Agarwal cofounded the collaboration startup Cove and later spent more than six years as chief technology officer at file-sharing and storage startup Dropbox. He's a current partner at South Park Commons, an entrepreneurial firm that funds seed-stage startups.

In his Thursday post, Agarwal said he found it difficult to explain the feeling of coding alongside an AI co-pilot but compared the experience to working with a "demigod" that "amplifies your abilities and anticipates your every move."

"It's a level of all-encompassing synergy that's hard to fathom until you've experienced it firsthand," he wrote.

Several technology companies that are developing artificial intelligence have created copilot tools, which essentially act as AI assistants helping users with various tasks. He did not specify which tool he was using.

Agarwal said the tool's power goes beyond simple auto-complete. Relying on a large language model, like GPT-4, an AI copilot is able to "predict your actual intent, presaging what you aim to build," he added.

"Coding is clearly the tip of the spear here, as it's the creative activity we've most clearly plugged into LLMs," Agarwal wrote. "But this is the direction many creative pursuits are headed."

The future of AI assistant tools, Agarwal said, is about "co-creation."

"The lines between the creator and the tool will blur," he added.

Agarwal didn't immediately respond to Business Insider's request for further comment.

The introduction of AI tools into professional settings has increased anxiety about the future of work in industries across the board. BI's Aki Ito reported last year that the transition for programmers could be especially difficult as coders are inevitably displaced and forced to adapt to a new normal.

But artificial intelligence will also make programmers' jobs easier, allowing them to focus on higher-level tasks, BI previously reported.

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