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[Slashdot] - Microsoft and OpenAI Have a New AI Tool That Will Give Coding Suggestions To Software Developers

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Microsoft on Tuesday announced an artificial intelligence system that can recommend code for software developers to use as they write code. From a report: Microsoft is looking to simplify the process of programming, the area where the company got its start in 1975. That could keep programmers who already use the companyâ(TM)s tools satisfied and also attract new ones. The system, called GitHub Copilot, draws on source code uploaded to code-sharing service GitHub, which Microsoft acquired in 2018, as well as other websites. Microsoft and GitHub developed it with help from OpenAI, an AI research start-up that Microsoft backed in 2019. Researchers at Microsoft and other institutions have been trying to teach computers to write code for decades. The concept has yet to go mainstream, at times because programs to write programs have not been versatile enough. The GitHub Copilot effort is a notable attempt in the field, relying as it does on a large volume of code in many programming languages and vast Azure cloud computing power. Nat Friedman, CEO of GitHub, describes GitHub Copilot as a virtual version of what software creators call a pair programmer -- that's when two developers work side by side collaboratively on the same project. The tool looks at existing code and comments in the current file and the location of the cursor, and it offers up one or more lines to add. As programmers accept or reject suggestions, the model learns and becomes more sophisticated over time. The new software makes coding faster, Friedman said in an interview last week. Hundreds of developers at GitHub have been using the Copilot feature all day while coding, and the majority of them are accepting suggestions and not turning the feature off, Friedman said.

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