back to article GitHub's AI code assistant Copilot takes flight. And that'll be $10 a month, please

Microsoft's GitHub on Tuesday released its Copilot AI programming assistance tool into the wild after a year-long free technical trial. And now that GitHub Copilot is generally available, developers will have to start paying for it. Or most of them will. Verified students and maintainers of popular open-source projects may …

  1. Tom Chiverton 1

    "developers would do well to review Copilot-generated code no differently than if it was written by a teammate."

    Fuck that, I'll just write it myself rather than risk some weird bug from code I didn't want.

    1. Howard Sway Silver badge

      I doubt many of the developers who would pay to use this would ever review teammates code anyway. If you're good enough to review code you'd care about good design, and know that this code spewer won't be able to design code as well as you can.

      No, this is more for the "if it compiles it works" crowd.

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge


      If you're a "savvy developer", you know what you're doing and how to do it and you don't want any auto-complete to write your code.

      Plus, it'll be your name on its bugs.

      No thank you.

    3. FeepingCreature Bronze badge

      If you didn't want it, why did you accept the suggestion...?

  2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Better not mention Oracle Lawyers

    Who'll be very interested in the code that Copilot helps "write".

  3. elsergiovolador Silver badge


    So Microsoft decided to compete with Indian IT shops?

    Can't beat $10 a month for the same code quality...

    1. Petalium

      Re: Competition

      The AI =Anonymous Indian , the Mechanical Turk of the 21st century

      1. Joe W Silver badge

        Re: Anonymous Indian


        thanks. oh so bloody much.

        (coffe piped throught the nose to the keyboard, in case somebody wondered)

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: Competition

      So Microsoft decided to compete with Indian IT shops?

      The first company that came to my mind when I read that was... IBM

  4. nintendoeats Silver badge

    I really don't want this.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      My first thought:

      $10/month to turn it on. How much to turn it off?

    2. Warm Braw

      It's probably marginally preferable to "pair programming". In that you're unlikely to have to justify the actual breaking of fingers to HR.

  5. breakfast Silver badge

    I don't like it, but it's probably the future

    I think a consequence of ubiquitous AI will be lots of tools like this that do an alright but not amazing job. Programming will become more about designing a specification that can be turned into code by AI system. Like many automated systems the average will be passable, normalised - we will lose both the worst and the best, leaving a sort of programmatic stodge that works fine for most people.

    Maybe that is alright, maybe it frees up those of us who are really interested in the craft of programming to work on more interesting projects.

    With a lot of these AI systems what this is really doing is treating an existing resource (in this case GitHub user contributions) as a free source of data to effectively crowdsource code from without credit, in the same way the art tools everyone's going crazy for are crowdsourcing art without giving the original artists any credit, arguably a form of deniable mass copyright theft. I'm interested in what happens as the outputs of these tools end up becoming part of their source corpus- are they going to generate ever more generic code or start synthesising techniques based on the system's own work? Is it -and its usefulness- going to flatten out as the proportion of human-generated content declines until it is effectively almost entirely recycling its own content?

  6. Richard 12 Silver badge

    Reading code is much harder than writing it

    So it's rather likely to make a developer's job harder, not easier.

    At least until it's a lot more reliable - which isn't going to happen unless they massively improve the training set...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And this is from the people who brought you Intellisense?

    1. JamesTGrant

      “You want a quote with your closing quote?””

  8. Auntie Dix

    Bot, why write regurgitated code?

    Gee, what would happen if we abstracted all of that AI code into reusable subroutines...better, verbs...of a higher-level programming language?

    I think that we're on to something!

  9. Dan 55 Silver badge

    I for one am completely sure MS respected all the different licences on all of the code on github (public or private) that was hoovered up into some half-arsed machine learning algorithm before charging you for the privilege of having it spew nonsense at you.

  10. jimmy-o

    Clean code is its own documentation

    I’m of the belief that comments should be used sparingly, ie for documenting public APIs, or for explaining workarounds for third-party bugs. Code should be written so that its behaviour is self-evident; otherwise comments need to be maintained and updated as well as code. So that rules me out (I’m assuming that the service only writes code based on comments).

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