Can you use AI for IT scripting?

As Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues to make inroads into the workplace, our webinar explores if advanced chatbot technology belongs in the IT admin toolbox when it comes to writing useful shell scripts.

May 23 2023 by

Laurie Mona

Robot sits at computer managed by Jamf.

There seem to be new headlines every day about exciting advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI), especially the possibilities of using advanced chatbot technology. This new generation of AI bots uses statistical models to generate complex text – including usable code.

So where does AI fit into the IT admin toolbox? One area worth exploring is IT scripting, a subject that benefits from the effective use of complex vocabulary and muscle memory.

In our webinar Exploring AI for IT Scripting, presenter William Smith, Jamf Partner Program Manager, investigates.

Check out the Exploring AI for IT Scripting webinar.

What is AI?

The first question Smith tackles is: what exactly is “Artificial Intelligence” anyway?

No matter what scary scenario Hollywood portrays, credible definitions of AI don’t say anything about computers achieving self-awareness or being alive.

The definition Smith likes best comes courtesy of Merriam-Webster: “The ability to deal with new or trying situations. The skilled use of reason.” To put it in even more practical terms, AI is about programming computers to problem-solve like humans.

Smith says the reason we’re seeing a proliferation of online AI tools right now is thanks to OpenAI.

What is OpenAI?

Smith uses one of the new online tools backed by OpenAI called ChatGPT to answer this very question.

The response: "Open AI is a research lab exploring artificial intelligence and wants to ensure AI is developed so that it’s safe and beneficial for humanity. It’s exploring AI for language processing, machine learning and robotics. And they make tools that software developers can incorporate into their own projects."

Can OpenAI be used for scripting?

The presentation focuses on the question: can AI help administrators write useful shell scripts?

Smith provides a hands-on demonstration of attempts to write scripts using a website designed to help write macOS bash scripts linked to OpenAI’s API.

During his presentation, Smith asks and provides answers to three questions:

  • Can AI help administrators write useful shell scripts?
  • Can AI understand what I ask, or do I need to “speak AI”?
  • Where does AI work, and where does it fall down?

The verdict on using AI for scripting

Smith found both positives and negatives from his trial run using the advanced chatbox technology for scripting.

Some of the points in favor of using AI include:

  • Simplification of answers by returning just one response.
  • Responses with single commands give concise, textbook examples.
  • OpenAI is multi-lingual and inclusive.

But potential issues include:

  • You must know the right question to get your answer.
  • The answer isn’t always right – in fact, it’s often wrong.
  • The more complex the question, the likelier the answer is wrong.
  • AI doesn’t know how to say, “I don’t know.”

For a deeper dive into the specifics of how AI can be used for shell scripting, check out Smith’s full presentation.

Find out more in the Exploring AI for IT Scripting webinar.

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