AI Makes Linux Do What You Mean, Not What You Say


We are always envious of the Star Trek Enterprise computers. You can just sort of ask them a hazy question and they will — usually — figure out what you want. Even the automatic doors seemed to know the difference between someone walking into a turbolift versus someone being thrown into the door during a fight. [River] decided to try his new API keys for the private beta of an AI service to generate Linux commands based on a description. How does it work? Watch the video below and find out.

Some examples work fairly well. In response to “email the Rickroll video to Jeff Bezos,” the system produced a curl command and an e-mail to what we assume is the right place. “Find all files in the current directory bigger than 1 GB” works, too.

Of course, like most AI projects, it can get confused easily. “Generate an image of three giraffes” creates a blank image. Asking it to download some files seemed to confuse it, too, for some reason. Having it suggest what hard drive to format spooked us a little. At least it waited for you to confirm its guess.

Because of the licensing and cost, you can’t really duplicate this exactly, although if you are savvy enough with deep learning models, you might be able to get close. However, we can’t help but think there are better ways to approach this problem.

Not to mention, shell commands aren’t that hard. We like regular expressions, but based on how many times we have to write one for someone else, maybe an AI to make them easier would be interesting. There again, we have a different approach.


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