Microsoft’s controversial GitHub Copilot has left preview and is now generally available. Customers can access the pair-programming solution following nearly a year in preview.
Microsoft first introduced GitHub Copilot in 2021 and has been previewing the service since. Now it is widely available, users can access Copilot for $10 per month or $100 per year (per user).
GitHub Copilot runs on a new AI platform developed by OpenAI known as Codex. Copilot is designed to help programmers across a wide range of scenarios and frameworks:
“GitHub Copilot understands significantly more context than most code assistants. So, whether it’s in a docstring, comment, function name, or the code itself, GitHub Copilot uses the context you’ve provided and synthesizes code to match. Together with OpenAI, we’re designing GitHub Copilot to get smarter at producing safe and effective code as developers use it.”
In June 2021, Microsoft introduced GitHub Copilot, a service that allows programmers tools to write code more easily. However, the service was quickly met with backlash from the open-source community.
One of the main criticisms regarding Copilot is it goes against the ethos of open source because it is a paid service. However, Microsoft would arguably justify this by saying the resources needed to train the AI are costly. Still, the training is problematic for some people because they argue Copilot is using snippets of code to train and then charging users.
On the flip side, it is arguable code that has been generated by machine learning is not something that can be copyrighted. In other words, it should be fine for Copilot to surface code snippet suggestions to users without breaching copyright… again, if any copyright even exists in the first place.
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