By Jeffrey Dastin

(Reuters) – Microsoft Corp on Tuesday aimed to assure investors that its big bet on artificial intelligence (AI) is paying off, even as economic turbulence is making Microsoft customers scrutinize their cloud spend.

Early evidence is in usage of a little-discussed tool that can write computer code for programmers, called GitHub Copilot.

Opened up to the public in June of last year, the tool drew 400,000 subscribers within a month. On Tuesday, Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella said that more than 1 million people had used Copilot to date.

Microsoft shares dipped slightly in after-hours trade on Tuesday following its forecast that cloud-computing revenue in the current quarter was just below Wall Street expectations.

Yet the growth in Copilot is a preliminary indication that people will pay for so-called generative AI, tech that can produce prose, imagery or in this case computer code on command after having learned the skill from vast data.

Copilot suggests…

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