­xkcd thread

Pics or it didn’t happen.

I’d say it mostly hits the same targets as other programming-related comics. The minimum you need to know are these three things:

  • makefiles are an old tech used to help compiling programs, and are thus fairly precise. There are already many programs that will create a makefile for you.
  • neural nets are a type of AI where an 80% success rate if often considered good. It basically learns by trial and error, but can actually learn to do decently at a lot of things that humans could only do before.
  • Zsh and bash are are two different interpreters that a makefile might use. They are quite similar in syntax, but can produce slightly different outputs.

So Cueball is using advanced tech to do something poorly that computers can already do just fine. This is the opposite of what most programmers do, which is finding new ways to use older tech to do new things.

It’s absurd, but it would also be a pretty neat achievement if he pulled it off. It would kinda be like teaching your new robot dog to change the channel on your TV. There are easier ways to do to change the channel, but it would still be impressive.

Or using a 6 figure robot dog to pull your rickshaw.

Well, that would explain it…

He was late on that one. It wasn’t up as of Tuesday morning.