Visual Studio Code, Microsoft’s programming IDE, currently consists of auto-complete systems that allow us to complete lines of code more or less intelligently to help us in our work. However, Copilot wants to revolutionize this by being able to write complete functions from the first few lines of code.
Copilot: a new immoral and illegal service according to the FSF
The problem with this tool comes from the way Microsoft has used to teach it. Although the code that users have shared on GitHub is usually public, that an AI, designed for profit, parses it without permission and uses it for self-learning, has not been much liked by users.
According to the FSF, developers want know if it’s fair that a company, like GitHub or Microsoft, take advantage of their work, their code, to train this Artificial Intelligence. They also wonder if it is really legal to do what they have done to train the AI or it could be copyright infringement.
Specifically, the questions that this Free Software Foundation wants to answer are the following:
- Is using public repositories to train GitHub Copilot AI fair? Does it infringe copyright?
- Could you generate claims for violating GPL licensed works?
- Could the programs generated with Copilot comply with the GPL licenses?
- How can developers be sure that a code, protected by copyright, is actually protected from GitHub Copilot?
- If Copilot generates code that violates a free software license, how could it be justified?
- Is the code generated by AI, or with Machine Learning, copyrighted?
- Should the law be changed with the arrival of this type of service?
GitHub has responded to criticism from the FSF expressing his willingness to be open to any kind of problem, even moral problems. But it has not been enough, and the Free Software Foundation wants to go all the way.
GitHub Copilot is still in testing phase
For now, the new AI from Microsoft and GitHub is in the testing phase, and is only available to a very small group of developers. If we are interested in testing this service, we can request access to Microsoft through this link and wait for our turn to test this new AI.
Initially, Microsoft will offer its GitHub Copilot service for free. However, depending on the success, we may see different paid editions, although for now we do not know the characteristics that these will have.
What is certain is that, to be able to use it, we must have a computer with high-end hardware and make use of Visual Studio Code, Microsoft’s IDE.