Github Copilot

This is quite a significant development. If this lives up to expectations it will change the job of a programmer.

Copilot is an AI which writes code based on comments by the author. Copilot is currently in beta, but once it is released this could potentially have massive implications for the generation of code.

Instead of the programmer writing the code the programmer will give directions to the AI as to what the code should do. AI has for a long time promised a great deal and delivered very little. I wonder to what extent the code will be comparable to code written by a programmer.

There is reason to believe it will be better than code written by a programmer. In the early days of 8-bit computers programmers would write a lot of their code in assembly language. Then, compilers were introduced that could take higher level code and compile it down to the byte code (which is the numerical code of the machine). At first, these compilers were not always as good as a human programmer as the programmers used many code ‘tricks’ to achieve faster or better execution of their code. However, with time these tricks were incorporated into the compilers until the compilers were able to write faster more efficient code than most programmers.

Perhaps something similar will happen with Copilot, if it doesn’t already write better code than a human programmer then I imagine with time it will do.