Simon Willison is using this year’s Advent of Code as an opportunity to learn Rust.
He’s using Copilot to help him with syntax/snippets via comment-driven prompting. He’s using ChatGPT as a study partner by asking it questions about how to do things in Rust. Is it working?
So far I think this is working really well.
I feel like I’m beginning to get a good mental model of how Rust works, and a lot of the basic syntax is beginning to embed itself into my muscle memory.
The real test is going to be if I can first make it to day 25 (with no prior Advent of Code experience I don’t know how much the increasing difficulty level will interfere with my learning) and then if I can actually write a useful Rust program after that without any assistance from these AI models.
And honestly, the other big benefit here is that this is simply a lot of fun. I’m finding interacting with AIs in this way—as an actual exercise, not just to try them out—is deeply satisfying and intellectually stimulating.
This might be an early glimpse into the future of AI-assisted learning…