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What Does Codex Mean?

Codex is an artificial intelligence (AI) system developed by OpenAI that allows users to input natural language (text) and receive code as a response. Using machine learning, Codex can assemble code instantly – helping streamline the coding process for beginners and professionals.


Codex is most capable in Python, although it can also generate code in other programming languages, such as JavaScript and Ruby. This code can be used to build snippets, functions, or even entire programs.

The OpenAI Codex system is a direct descendant of the company’s GPT-3 model, designed to produce accurate responses to text-based prompts. However, unlike GPT-3, Codex is explicitly focused on code creation rather than human-style text responses.

Techopedia Explains Codex

Although Codex descended from GPT-3, the model has also been trained on Python code and GitHub repositories. This has given Codex a firm grasp on many situations – yet it is not foolproof.

According to OpenAI, Codex can only handle around 37% of user requests. This is far higher than GPT-3 itself, which was found to be capable of handling 0% of user requests.

There are countless applications for Codex, with OpenAI’s team already demonstrating that it can work with tasks like transpilation, explaining code, and refactoring code. This model is still in its beta phase, meaning only a select few businesses and developers can access the API.

Potential Use Cases for Codex

Given the complexity of programming and coding, the potential benefits of Codex are limitless. Most significantly, Codex could help streamline the process of building applications for beginner coders.

It could even be used to speed up the learning process for these coders, whilst being much more accessible than taking physical/online classes.

Here are just some of the ways in which Codex could help users:

  • Debugging Codex can be given a section of code and be asked to analyze it for bugs. If bugs are present, Codex could suggest appropriate fixes.
  • Autocompletion If developers are already writing code but are stuck at a specific point, Codex can be employed to autocomplete the section. Codex’s suggestions will consider the context of the previous code written by the developer.
  • Automation Codex can even automate some aspects of the code-writing process. This frees up time for developers to focus on other areas.

OpenAI has also demonstrated that Codex can integrate with other well-known applications. These include Microsoft Word, Spotify, and Google Calendar.

However, one of Codex’s most popular applications is within GitHub Copilot. GitHub Copilot is an ‘assistant’ that provides suggestions as developers write code. This system is powered by Codex and is integrated into whatever code editor the developer is using.

Using GitHub Copilot, developers and programmers can speed up the time it takes to complete tasks while eradicating bugs and glitches. However, this tool is not free – users must pay a monthly subscription to access its capabilities.

Concerns Around Codex’s Use

Like all AI-powered systems, many people have already expressed concerns regarding Codex’s global impact. The main worry is that Codex isn’t always accurate. As OpenAI highlights, the system is only right 37% of the time.

Moreover, Codex has been shown to do well with ‘simpler’ coding issues but not complex challenges. This can have severe repercussions, including safety issues and biases.

There are also worries about copyright issues. This is a complex problem to solve, given the rapidly-advancing nature of AI, but some people have expressed concerns over whether Codex’s outputs could violate copyright laws.

Furthermore, since Codex was trained on actual data, some outputs could be direct copies of the data that the system was taught.

Tom Sheen
Tom Sheen

Tom is an editor for Techopedia, ensuring content across the site is accurate, relevant, and timely. He has held a long-term interest in technology and uses that knowledge to provide precise and concise definitions of technical terms. Previous to joining Techopedia, Tom had spent more than a decade as a sports journalist and senior editor at a variety of leading UK national newspapers, including The Sun, the Independent and Daily Mail.