CS 467 Blog Post #2

Topic: How are you using AI in your project (or another one)? What are some pros and cons? Has it made you a better programmer?

I have been using AI for our Website Security Research Project project. We decided to build our own web app to attack and rebuild more securely. We chose to use PHP as the backend language even though we both had zero experience with it. Besides reading the documentation on PHP, I have been using AI to get an idea of how to get the syntax for PHP right to build our web app. If I didn’t know how to code a specific functionality in PHP, I would ask the AI for an example of how it’s done. I tried to explain what I wanted to do the best I could but for the most part, the AI was able to spit out exactly what I wanted even if I explained it very poorly.

For the pros of using AI, I have been very impressed that it has been able to decipher what I’m trying to get out of it. Being able to use normal, descriptive language with it has made it very easy to use. Another pro is how fast it is. It only takes a few seconds for it to generate the code. I have also been impressed by how if you point out a mistake to the AI, it will correct itself. However, the AI is not perfect as I mentioned it does make mistakes. I found I needed to be extra careful when using the coding examples provided by the AI because there were one or two times when it sent me down a rabbit hole that didn’t really help me with our project. Also, there were times when the AI wouldn’t help me since it thought I was doing something nefarious so I had to re-word my requests to get what I needed, which could be seen as another con, an AI you can trick.

I think it has mostly made me a better programmer as I have learned a lot about PHP and web development from AI. It did things in a way I never thought about before that I will use in the future. I have also learned how to use AI as a tool to help me program in the future. However, I have also learned I need to not rely on AI too much as that can make someone a lazy programmer. You can give it some code and tell it to add a feature to the code and it will do that however, you don’t really learn much by doing that. There needs to be a balance somewhere in the middle of AI being a tool and not too much using AI as a crutch.

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