The co-pilot is attractive because it takes advantage of a number of developer annoyances.
What is a co-pilot?
GitHub Copilot is an AI-powered binary programmer that suggests line completion and all functional bodies as you type. GitHub Copilot is powered by the OpenAI Codex AI system, trained on public internet scripts and billions of lines of code. It is a powerful source code analyzer that supports a wide range of programming languages.
The purpose of OpenAICodex is to find out “how” people use the code. It defines the context of the code you’re writing and makes suggestions for what might happen next. Unlike autocomplete in the IDE, Copilot can generate new output from the code it has learned. It’s not just a list of codes you’ve seen before.
How far have you come?
The current general response is “not too far”. Despite all the buzzwords like “intelligence,” “contextual,” and “composite,” Copilot has only a limited understanding of your true goals and what your code needs to achieve.
When calculating suggestions, Copilot simply looks at your current file. It will not evaluate how the code is used throughout your program. Even if the basic thinking behind files remains the same, the way AI views your work can differ significantly from how you view it and may vary from file to file.
What are its limits and problems? Why not come to an end?
The co-pilot is attractive because it takes advantage of a number of developer annoyances. Most programmers, if not all, are aware of the inefficiency of writing “standard” code that is not really relevant to their project. If you take Copilot at face value, you will see that they now have a solution that allows them to focus more on the creative aspects of their business.
Copilot has been trained on a handful of public GitHub projects with various licenses. This, according to GitHub, constitutes “fair use” for such projects.
This is when the problem begins. The co-pilot still has a chance to accurately reproduce parts of the code. This could get your project into a big problem, depending on the permissions around these bits. Since Copilot is trained on GitHub projects, personal data may be entered into your source files. These are supposed to be unusual occurrences. If the surrounding code context is weak or inaccurate, it most likely is. Since it works under the GPL and other similar licenses, which have the same permissions, placing GPL code in a commercial product is a license violation. Therefore, the use of Copilot has significant legal implications that must be considered before installing it. Accepting the proposal may result in inadvertent copyright infringement because Copilot appears to be sending a literal code without disclosing the license that came with the sample.
This should prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the initial version of Copilot will not be able to take the position of a human developer. Its code is not guaranteed to be relevant, may be defective or outdated, and constitutes a legal risk.
The Copilot problem is GitHub’s comprehensive approach to model training. Use of Copilot in the real world will be hampered by the inclusion of GPL-licensed code and a complete lack of any kind of output testing. It’s unclear whether GitHub’s decision to train the model to public code qualifies for fair use, as it probably does, at least in some places.
Furthermore, since GitHub is unable to guarantee that Copilot code will actually work, developers will need to proceed with caution and evaluate everything they generate. Copilot’s promise is to help inexperienced developers progress, but this will not be possible if defective code is proposed and accepted.
Finally, Kopilot offers no explanation for how or why its recommendations work. If technology is really going to replace human developers, it must be able to explain how the solution works and provide transparency in the decisions that are made. Not only can developers trust the device; They will need to monitor it and compare alternative options.
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