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The rapid rise of AI-powered coding tools is transforming the software engineering industry, with a growing number of developers embracing these technologies to boost productivity and quality.

Case in point: A recent StackOverflow survey found that 44% of software engineers are already using AI tools as part of their development process, and 26% plan to do so soon. Industry analysts at Gartner estimate that over 75% of developers will utilize coding assistants by 2028.

Go deeper: Former Microsoft developer Igor Ostrovsky, who co-founded the AI coding platform Augment, believes that AI can significantly improve software quality, team productivity, and the overall joy of programming. Ostrovsky argues that current coding assistants fall short in understanding developer intent, improving code quality, and protecting intellectual property.

Why it matters: Augment, which has raised $252 million in funding at a near-unicorn valuation, aims to tackle these shortcomings and shake up the rapidly growing market for generative AI coding technologies. The company faces stiff competition from tech giants like Microsoft, Amazon, and Google, as well as a slew of well-funded startups, all vying for a piece of this lucrative and fast-evolving space.

The big picture: The rise of AI-powered coding tools has raised concerns about issues such as security vulnerabilities, copyright infringement, and the potential displacement of human developers. As the industry grapples with these challenges, the legal and regulatory landscape surrounding generative AI is likely to evolve quickly, potentially shaping the future direction of the technology.

What they’re saying: “Software engineering remains a difficult and all-too-often tedious and frustrating job, particularly at scale,” Ostrovsky told TechCrunch. “AI can improve software quality, team productivity and help restore the joy of programming.”

The bottom line: The emergence of Augment and the broader proliferation of AI coding assistants underscore the transformative potential of these technologies in the software development world. However, the industry must navigate complex technical, legal, and ethical hurdles to ensure that the benefits of AI-powered coding are realized while mitigating potential risks and unintended consequences.

Eric Schmidt-backed Augment, a GitHub Copilot rival, launches out of stealth with $252M

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