GitHub announced during the Microsoft Build 2022 event that Copilot, GitHub’s AI-powered service suggests code will be available for free for students and open-source contributors. GitHub also stated that they have no plans to change the service much. GitHub Copilot was available in technical preview, the service will be generally available this summer.
Free for students and open-source contributors
GitHub also stated that Copilot extensions will be available for Noevim and JetBrains. Another new feature is Copilot Explain, enabling the translation of code into natural language descriptions.
GitHub warned users that similar to other AI models, the service is imperfect and it is possible to get insecure coding patterns, bugs, and references leading to outdated APIs. GitHub also stated that in some rare situations, suggestions can include personal data. Ryan J. Salva, VP of product at GitHub, told TechCrunch,
« Earlier this year we launched Copilot Labs, a separate Copilot extension developed as a proving ground for experimental applications of machine learning that improve the developer experience. As a part of Copilot Labs, we launched ‘explain this code’ and ‘translate this code.’ This work fits into a category of experimental capabilities that we are testing out that give you a peek into the possibilities and lets us explore use cases. Perhaps with ‘explain this code,’ a developer is weighing into an unfamiliar codebase and wants to quickly understand what’s happening. This feature lets you highlight a block of code and ask Copilot to explain it in plain language. Again, Copilot Labs is intended to be experimental in nature, so things might break. Labs experiments may or may not progress into permanent features of Copilot. »