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Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The open-source software developer GitHub says that for some programming languages, about 30% of newly written code is being suggested by the company's AI programming tool Copilot.

Why it matters: Copilot can look at code written by a human programmer and suggest further lines or alternative code, eliminating some of the repetitive labor that goes into coding.

How it works: Copilot is built on the OpenAI Codex algorithm, which was trained on terabytes of openly available source code and can translate human language into programming language. It serves as a more sophisticated autocomplete tool for programmers.

  • "We hear a lot from our users that their coding practices have changed using Copilot," says Oege de Moor, VP of GitHub Next, the team rolling out Copilot. "Overall, they're able to become much more productive in their coding."

Between the lines: The company will announce at its GitHub Universe conference today that it will be rolling out Copilot support for all popular programming languages, including Java.

  • "This is going to help bring this technology to a much broader audience," says de Moor, adding that it is part of GitHub's effort to "make programming accessible to the next 200 million developers."
  • De Moor also notes that Copilot has proven sticky with the community's base — 50% of the developers who have tried the product since its launch in July have kept using it.

The catch: Not unlike OpenAI's massive text-generating natural language product GPT-3, Copilot is much more effective in augmenting human work than in creating its own code.

  • Like any algorithm, it is dependent on the quality of its training data. In a study, a group of academics from New York University found 40% of the code produced by Copilot had cybersecurity flaws.
  • Yes, but: Humans are far from perfect either — by one estimate, the average developer creates 70 bugs per 1,000 lines of code.

The bottom line: Even as Copilot improves, human programmers won't be out of a job. Demand for software developers grew 25% in 2020, and most programmers spend less than half of their working time actually writing code.

Editor's note: This story and headline have been corrected to show that the percentage of newly written code being suggested by Copilot is 30% for some programming languages, not all.

Go deeper

Inside Trump's hunt for "disloyal" Republicans

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Donald Trump and his associates are systematically reshaping the Republican Party, working to install hand-picked loyalists across federal and state governments and destroy those he feels have been disloyal, sources close to the former president tell Axios.

Why it matters: If most or all of Trump’s candidates win, he will go into the 2024 election cycle with far more people willing to do his bidding who run the elections in key states.

1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

CPI: The new jobs number

Grocery shoppers in Washington, D.C., last month. Photo: Ting Shen/Xinhua via Getty Images

The Consumer Price Index has replaced the jobs report as the most anticipated data drop by the U.S. government.

Why it matters: Rising prices tend to lower political fortunes. Washington and Wall Street are now waiting for the CPI number to flash at 8:30am ET around the 10th day of each month. This month's report — due Friday morning — will give a reading of how hot inflation ran in November.

COVID cases and deaths are on the rise

Expand chart
Data: N.Y. Times; Cartogram: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

COVID-19 cases and deaths are rising all across the U.S. even before the Omicron variant takes hold.

Why it matters: The holidays — and the inevitable spread of Omicron — will only heighten the risks that unvaccinated Americans face from COVID, in all its forms.