Artificial Intelligence

Individual devs can now use Github’s Copilot ‘AI assistant’

I love writing code to make things: apps, websites, charts, and even music. It’s a skill I’ve worked hard at for more than 20 years.

So I must confess last week’s news about the release of a new “AI assistant” coding helper called GitHub Copilot gave me complicated feelings.

Copilot, which spits out code to order based on “plain English” descriptions, is a remarkable tool. But is it about to put coders like me out of a job?

Trained on billions of lines of human code

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GitHub (now owned by Microsoft) is also a collaboration platform and social network for developers. You can think of it as something like a cross between Dropbox and Instagram, used by everyone from individual hobbyists to highly paid software engineers at big tech companies.

Over the past decade or so, GitHub’s users have uploaded tens of billions of lines of code for more than 200 million apps. That’s a lot of ifs and fors andprint("hello world") statements.

The Copilot AI works like many other machine learning tools: it was “trained” by scanning through and looking for patterns in those tens of billions of lines of code written and uploaded by members of GitHub’s coder community.

KQ Education Group