Should you use Github Copilot?

Jorge Contreras
2 min readMar 25, 2023

Github Copilot can help you boost productivity. It can save you from typing repetitive code yourself. Github Copilot can also help you find alternatives to solutions you already had.

On the other hand, there’s a good chance that the code suggestions are bad, or even worse: solutions that seem good, but contain flaws. After all, Copilot has been trained on Github’s public repositories, written by software developers with different skill levels, habits and limitations.

AI is great at making predictions. Sometimes, these predictions are so good that it can resemble intelligence. Except that computers are not intelligent. They don’t “think”. It is your job as software engineer to think, solve problems, put the pieces together. An AI assistant will try to complete the missing information the best it can. AI assistants like Github Copilot put a wide variety of suggestions at your fingertips, as you type in your code editor, but it is up to you to differentiate the good ones from the bad ones, and make adjustments as needed. It is your responsibility to cross-check documentation, and to inspect carefully what you are adding to the software that you are building.

Writing software should not be taken lightly. It is the developer’s responsibility to ensure that their code is secure, optimal and bug-free.

As a rule of thumb, it’s better to assume that AI suggestions are wrong by default. After careful inspection, some of them might become usable. Code suggestions are just that: suggestions. They are not solutions. They are not production-ready. You are always in charge. It all starts with your critical thinking and expertise, and then you add AI suggestions into your work, not the other way around.

In conclusion, we are seeing great progress in the AI field. We are reaching a point where it is becoming actually useful in our daily activities and available to more and more people. Github Copilot is a great tool and can certainly increase productivity, but developers need to be aware of its flaws and use it responsibly.

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Jorge Contreras

I develop software professionally, and take aerial photography and race triathlons for fun.