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The World Depends on 60-Year-Old Code No One Knows

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Programming in COBOL.

We need to maintain and modernize the COBOL code that underpins so much of the business and finance worlds, but we don't have enough skilled workers fluent in the language to carry out those updates.

Credit: IBM

The 64-year-old programming language COBOL is one of the top mainframe programming languages in use, particularly in the banking, automotive, insurance, government, healthcare, and finance sectors.

However, most schools and universities have not taught COBOL in decades, which poses a challenge as those well-versed in COBOL retire, with few options to replace them.

IBM hopes to use artificial intelligence (AI) to remedy the situation by creating a generative AI-powered code assistant dubbed watsonx to convert COBOL code to a more modern programming language.

Said IBM's Skyla Loomis, "It's AI assisted, but it still requires the developer" to edit the code provided by the AI.

He added, "It's a productivity enhancement — not a developer replacement type of activity."

From PC Magazine
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