May 4, 2023

Hugging Face and ServiceNow release a free code-generating model

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, law, robotics/AI

AI startup Hugging Face and ServiceNow Research, ServiceNow’s R&D division, have released StarCoder, a free alternative to code-generating AI systems along the lines of GitHub’s Copilot.

Code-generating systems like DeepMind’s AlphaCode; Amazon’s CodeWhisperer; and OpenAI’s Codex, which powers Copilot, provide a tantalizing glimpse at what’s possible with AI within the realm of computer programming. Assuming the ethical, technical and legal issues are someday ironed out (and AI-powered coding tools don’t cause more bugs and security exploits than they solve), they could cut development costs substantially while allowing coders to focus on more creative tasks.

According to a study from the University of Cambridge, at least half of developers’ efforts are spent debugging and not actively programming, which costs the software industry an estimated $312 billion per year. But so far, only a handful of code-generating AI systems have been made freely available to the public — reflecting the commercial incentives of the organizations building them (see: Replit).

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