Back in 2021, I spent hours pouring over the GitHub Copilot docs trying to figure out how I could maximize my chances of getting into the technical preview. Fortunately, this all paid off when I was accepted into the preview.
Finally, it is available for all to use!
For those of you unaware, GitHub Copilot is an AI assistant to help you write code faster and more efficiently.
The best comparison I can come up with is that it’s like autocomplete feature on your phone. Unlike the autocomplete feature, GitHub Copilot writes the code equivalent to complete sentences.
Copilot is Now Available For The Masses
As I alluded to in the introduction, Copilot has been in a technical preview phase for almost a year now. This means that a very limited number of developers were allowed to use it for free, in exchange for them allowing GitHub to monitor their usage to improve the program for its final release.
It appears that GitHub is finally satisfied to release it to the public. Now, anyone with a GitHub account should be able to use it, albeit at a cost (which we will get to soon!).
The announcement mentioned:
Until now, AI has stopped short of improving code, leaving the process of developing software almost completely manual. That’s changing now. Today, I am thrilled to announce that we are making GitHub Copilot generally available to individual developers. Your AI pair programmer is here.Thomas Dohmke, GitHub CEO
Available as a free editor extension, Copilot has already helped millions of developers speed up their programming. However, it does come at a cost, both direct and indirect.
GitHub Copilot Pricing
Copilot may be prohibitively expensive for some as with almost all exciting new technologies. It will cost you $10/month or $100/year.
If you are an open-source project maintainer or a verified student, you can get free access to it.
Is GitHub Copilot Unethical?
The controversy surrounding the GitHub Copilot product is huge and concerning. Technically, the A.I have been trained using the available code on the GitHub platform.
So, basically, GitHub is offering a new product by using your code (take it with a pinch of salt, if you’d like). Not to forget, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) also advised against hosting code on GitHub keeping Copilot in mind.
While we know that businesses love to exploit things, some believed that it should not directly hurt the projects/code hosted at GitHub.
But, is that the case?
Briefly, after the launch, many developers shared how they found copyrighted code being generated by GitHub Copilot:
Of course, if we look at GitHub Copilot’s FAQ which mentions:
GitHub does not own the suggestions GitHub Copilot generates. The code you write with GitHub Copilot’s help belongs to you, and you are responsible for it.
So, ultimately, you pay for a service to add inconvenience and more work to your project?
Nothing about it sounds exciting in terms of making a developer’s task easy, in my opinion.
What are your thoughts on it? Share what you think in the comments section below.