GitHub puts artificial intelligence at the service of developers

Posted Dec 12 2022 at 18:08Updated 12 Dec. 2022 at 07:31 PM

Several hundred thousand developers are already using artificial intelligence to speed up their daily work. In recent months, GitHub, the developer platform acquired by Microsoft in 2018, has launched Copilot by gradually opening it up to a growing number of developers.

This tool uses artificial intelligence to suggest lines of code to developers. It was developed in partnership with OpenAI, a company closely linked to Microsoft, which invested $1 billion in it in 2019. The group led by Satya Nadella is even considering investing even more in the Californian laboratory, according to the “Wall Street Log “.

“I use it as a second brain,” says Siva Kumar, a developer who attended GitHub Universe, GitHub’s annual conference in San Francisco. He says he is particularly enthusiastic about the idea of ​​testing Copilot for Business, launched in early December. The program will cost enterprises $19 per month per user.

“At GitHub, we believe that Copilot will play a role at every stage of the developer lifecycle,” GitHub CEO Thomas Dohmke told Les Echos. “It goes from creating code, to reviewing it, to optimizing cloud deployment. Artificial intelligence will be able to help at all stages of the process. »

94 million developers

GitHub is the leading open source platform, used by 94 million developers. A figure doubled in three years. According to the company, 90 of the 100 largest American companies, listed by “Fortune”, use GitHub.

The Microsoft subsidiary estimates that developers use up to 40% of the lines of code offered by Copilot. She hopes that this proportion will rise to 80% in the next five years. For GitHub, the priority is to pamper developers by providing them with state-of-the-art tools.

For the moment, the satisfaction of the developers seems to be there. In a survey conducted by GitHub, 88% of them say they are more productive with the help of Copilot. Three-quarters feel they can focus on more satisfying tasks.

Class action

But the use of artificial intelligence is not without risk for GitHub. Last month, developers filed a complaint against the platform, accusing it of “piracy of software on an unprecedented scale”. They criticize Copilot for retrieving snippets of code that have been written by some of them, and presenting them to GitHub users without specifying where this code comes from.

“We are questioning the legality of GitHub Copilot,” said The Verge Matthew Butterick, a developer and attorney behind the complaint. “This is the first step in a long process. To our knowledge, this is the first collective complaint filed in the United States involving artificial intelligence systems. It won’t be the last. »

At a press conference, Thomas Dohmke replied that GitHub was “working with partners in the open source community” to make its tool more “responsible”. The company could thus indicate more clearly which are the sources of the code provided by Copilot, in the event that the latter corresponds to existing contributions on GitHub.

Artificial intelligence also risks suggesting code containing security flaws to developers. As for the production of texts, careful proofreading by the developers therefore remains essential.

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GitHub puts artificial intelligence at the service of developers

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