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Feb 14, 2020

AI is taking over the command line

IBM AI-powered command line

IBM, one of the world’s largest technology companies, announced a new open source project to help developers work smarter and more efficiently when using the command line. Known as Project CLAI (command line artificial intelligence), IBM’s new tool adds AI-powered capabilities to the terminal.

What can it do? CLAI constantly analyzes what a developer types into the command line. When it is confident that it has a strong suggestion based on what a developer is typing, it will autonomously decide to show that suggestion in the terminal.

CLAI includes natural language processing skills that can convert plain text commands into tar or grep commands. CLAI also provides developers with a smart help feature that can find relevant solutions from Unix Stack Exchange when developers face an error in their terminal.

CLAI will also help developers manage their containers with its Kube Bot, a smart Docker automation tool. Kube Bot can automatically generate YAML configuration files by monitoring user activities in the terminal, checking cloud accounts for available services, and parsing Dockerfiles.

Why does it matter? While there are a number of rule-based command line assistants—such as bash-it, oh-my-zsh, thefuck, and tldr—these don’t scale well and are limited in their intelligence. A smarter command line assistant can save developers even more time and effort, while preventing monotonous and routine work.

What’s next? With enough training, CLAI should learn how to perform in-line search and spell checking, as well as offer code suggestions and auto-complete features.

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