BT boosts developer productivity with Amazon’s generative AI coding assistant

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BT Group’s Digital unit has announced the deployment of Amazon CodeWhisperer, a generative AI coding assistant from Amazon Web Services (AWS). This marks a significant step in the company’s drive for modernisation, efficiency, and improved tooling for its workforce.

CodeWhisperer provides real-time AI-powered code suggestions, from snippets to full functions, in multiple integrated development environments (IDEs). It leverages natural language comments and existing code to support coding in 15 different languages.

The solution promotes responsible and secure coding by filtering out potentially biased or unfair suggestions and flagging code resembling specific open-source training data. It can also identify vulnerabilities and propose remediation code.

Deepika Adusumilli, Chief Data and AI Officer, Digital at BT Group, said: “This is a major milestone not just for BT Group, but for the industry. It empowers our colleagues and helps us deliver solutions to customers faster. This is just the first step in our wider AI-powered product lifecycle management strategy.”

Boosting productivity and efficiency

By automating tedious and repetitive tasks, CodeWhisperer is already improving developer productivity at BT. Users are receiving an average of 15-20 code suggestions per day, with an acceptance rate of 37 percent.

In its first four months, BT says the tool has generated over 100,000 lines of code and automated roughly 12 percent of repetitive work for an initial group of volunteers. BT has now expanded access to 1,200 engineers across the business.

Responsible AI implementation

BT says that it has implemented comprehensive safeguards to ensure transparency, accountability, intellectual property compliance, and data privacy when using CodeWhisperer. These include:

  • Guardrails: A set of clear guidelines for the software engineering community.
  • Learning and onboarding: Custom training materials and onboarding sessions on BT Group’s Digital Campus platform.
  • Data control and openness: Controls and transparency regarding training data to manage intellectual property risks.

Fabio Cerone, Director, Telco Industry, EMEA at AWS, commented: “Our work with BT Group showcases the value and efficiency of generative AI in software development. CodeWhisperer frees developers from repetitive tasks, allowing them to focus on core problem-solving and delivering better solutions.”

BT Group’s adoption of CodeWhisperer demonstrates the potential of generative AI to transform software development by enhancing developer productivity while promoting responsible coding practices in this new era.

(Photo by Metin Ozer on Unsplash)

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