GitHub is a code host, a CI / CD provider, and now also a recruiter, at least for digital programming assistants: GitHub Copilot has received huge amounts of code as training data and is now intended to support human programmers in their work. As you type, the software can suggest appropriate next lines of code, know well-known algorithms and typical patterns.
Previously GitHub Copilot was tested in a beta phase, it is now available as a product. For $ 10 a month or $ 100 a year, you can embed the assistant in Neovim, JetBrains IDEs, Visual Studio, and Visual Studio Code and benefit from its knowledge of the code literature. GitHub names standard code, unit tests, but also entire algorithms as application areas where it should pay off particularly well. Before you have to pay, you can try the help for free for 60 days. Deals for businesses will follow later in 2022.
GitHub boss Thomas Dohmke is extremely happy with the testing phase in his blog post. 1.2 million users have tried Copilot in the last 12 months. According to GitHub, in the files he was active in, he contributed on average nearly 40 percent of the code to widely used programming languages such as Python.
dispute over knowledge
The fact that Copilot’s AI is so well read and can use all the open source code on GitHub as training data has led to criticism from the very beginning of the testing phase, especially from representatives of the free software scene. One of the controversial questions: Can GitHub train a GPL-licensed code AI and then rent the trained network for a fee? A philosophical and fundamental question about the role of artificial intelligence follows: the formation of an AI must be evaluated differently than the learning process of a person who can also use open source code for self-study and use what he has learned. in their code?
In the blog post, GitHub doesn’t address criticism directly, but points out that Copilot can only work thanks to a vibrant open source community. To give them something back, they want to make Copilot available for free to students and maintainers of popular open source projects. Students need to check their status on GitHub.