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GitHub research: AI developer productivity could boost global GDP by over $1.5 trillion by 2030

GitHub, the world’s largest software development collaboration platform, today released new research detailing the potential economic impact and productivity benefits of generative AI. The study found that AI developer productivity benefits could boost global GDP by over $1.5 trillion by 2030.

Today, GitHub Copilot has been activated by more than one million developers and adopted by over 20,000 organizations. It has generated over three billion accepted lines of code, and is the world’s most widely adopted AI developer tool. 

GitHub Copilot is turbocharging developer productivity

Analysis on a large sample of GitHub Copilot users (n = 934,533) reveals a sizable productivity impact. On average, within the first year in the market, users accept nearly 30% of code suggestions from GitHub Copilot and report increased productivity from these acceptances. 

GitHub found that over time, the acceptance rate steadily increased as developers became more familiar with the tool. This suggests that GitHub Copilot has a large runway to continue its impact on developer productivity, as users become more accustomed to developing software with it.

AI developer productivity benefits could boost global GDP by over $1.5 trillion

Using the 30% productivity enhancement, with a projected number of 45 million professional developers in 2030, generative AI developer tools could add productivity gains of an additional 15 million “effective developers” to worldwide capacity by 2030. This could boost global GDP by over $1.5 trillion, a boon in economic activity generated by this one group of workers. 

GitHub knows that the demand for software and developers will likely increase — as it has throughout the history of developer tools – and these productivity gains will continue to trigger an enormous impact, as developers seize new opportunities to utilize AI for solutions design and accelerate digital transformation worldwide.

Thomas Dohmke, GitHub CEO, said: “The economic impact of generative AI over the next decade will be profound — and we’re already seeing large-scale adoption of AI coding tools like GitHub Copilot by developers and companies. In a recent survey, 92% of developers said they use AI tools both in and outside of work, which underscores how quickly these tools are redefining the overall developer experience

“What we draw from all this is that generative AI is turbocharging developer productivity with gains that will ultimately drive a boom in GDP for the global economy and, in turn, a surge in demand for software developers. We’ve seen this throughout the history of developer tool innovations from compilers to open source, and we’re already seeing that again with GitHub Copilot and soon GitHub Copilot X. One year later, we’ve realized this collision of AI and the software developer will not lead to a decrease in developer jobs — it will lead to AI augmenting developer potential and accelerating human progress.”

Less experienced developers benefit more from GitHub Copilot

GitHub’s study also found that less experienced developers have a greater advantage with tools like GitHub Copilot, which is corroborated by other studies, including GitHub’s previous experiments on the impact of AI on developer productivity. As developers use these tools to upskill, they will become more fluent in prompting and interacting with AI to power the development lifecycle. This will ultimately help democratize software development for more people, help close the labor gap, and establish AI pair programming tools as part of the standard developer education experience. 

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