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in “ Tech news in brief ”,
July 07, 2021.

Copilot guides your code

GitHub Copilot.

GitHub Copilot. © GitHub.

GitHub and OpenAI presented a preview of Copilot, a new AI tool that lives in the Visual Studio Code editor and autocompletes your code. According to GitHub, Copilot doesn’t just repeat familiar code. It really analyzes the code you’ve already written and generates new code for it, including specific functions that were previously called. Examples on the project’s website include automatically writing code to import tweets, draw a scatterplot, or retrieve a Goodreads rating. According to a blog post from Nat Friedman, CEO of GitHub, the system works best with Python, JavaScript, TypeScript, Ruby and Go. Copilot is built on a new algorithm called OpenAI Codex, which Greg Brockman, CTO of OpenAI, describes as a descendant of GPT-3. This is Microsoft’s first major return on its US$ 1 billion investment in OpenAI, the research company now led by Sam Altman, president of Y Combinator.

The tool’s algorithm is trained using a whole body of code on GitHub, which could have copyright implications. “Training machine learning models on publicly available data is considered fair use across the machine learning community,” the Copilot page says. But according to some legal experts, the matter is not as clear-cut as GitHub would suggest. For example, if an algorithm generates Ariana Grande-style songs, or directly copies the solution to a problem originally devised by a programmer, the fair-use designation becomes questionable. In any case, the emergence of AI constantly raises new and fascinating issues.

The Verge, Dave Gershgorn, “GitHub and OpenAI launch a new AI tool that generates its own code.”

The Verge, Dave Gershgorn, “GitHub’s automatic coding tool rests on untested legal ground.”



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