Tech

The Download: AI coding assistants, and China’s app disputes

Two weeks into the coding class he was teaching at Duke University in North Carolina this spring, Noah Gift told his students they’d no longer be working with Python, one of the most popular entry-level programming languages. Instead, they’d be using an AI tool called Copilot, a turbocharged autocomplete for computer code, to use Rust, a language that was newer, more powerful, and much harder to learn.

Gift isn’t alone. Ask a room of programmers if they use Copilot, and many now raise a hand. Like ChatGPT with education, Copilot is up-ending an entire profession by giving people new ways to perform old tasks.

With Microsoft and Google about to embed similar AI models into office software used by billions around the world, it’s worth asking exactly what these tools do for programmers. And just how big a difference will they make? Read the full story.

—Will Douglas Heaven

Chinese apps are letting public juries settle customer disputes

If you’ve ordered food through a delivery app lately, you’re probably familiar with the feeling of frustration when you have to wait too long for your order or, when you finally receive it, the food isn’t what you asked for. These feelings are then often exacerbated by the difficulty of trying to make things right via app. 

Meituan, the most popular food delivery app in China, has proposed one solution: inviting ordinary users to serve on “juries” that weigh in on disputes between other customers and restaurants. It could be anything from missing rice to not-spicy-enough noodles to the food being completely cold.

And beyond helping resolve grievances for others, it turns out users are having quite a bit of fun being “cyber judges.” Read the full story.



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