Welcome to the 65th edition of The Catch Block!

This week is a short one here in the States, as July 4th is our independence day, and we like to celebrate the independence of our country by blowing up a small part of it.

July 4th Independence Day Fireworks
Hopefully not the small part you're currently occupying. Photo by Elisha Terada / Unsplash

In this edition: GitHub Copilot causes a stir. Plus GraphQL, accessibility, randomness, and xoshiro.

GitHub Copilot

A week ago, as I was publishing the previous issue of The Catch Block, Microsoft and GitHub announced a new product called GitHub Copilot, an AI-assisted coding tool that can make suggestions and complete your code. The front page for this project is here:

GitHub Copilot · Your AI pair programmer
GitHub Copilot works alongside you directly in your editor, suggesting whole lines or entire functions for you.

At first glance, this seems like a super-useful tool. Given that GitHub has millions of projects, the AI-assisted tool could work out many simple, common programming scenarios and suggest how to complete them for you. It doesn't seem all that different from the IntelliCode feature in Visual Studio 2022 that I raved about in a previous edition of The Catch Block:

The Catch Block #63 - Hooray for Visual Studio 2022!
The new IntelliCode feature is amazing! Plus .NET 6 Preview 5, C# pattern matching, Gravatar, and telling yourself to shut up.

Yet, Copilot seems to be causing quite a bit of internet anguish. People wonder if a deep, thorough understanding of the code will still be valuable in the age of AI coding:

Will deep understanding still be valuable?

Because Copilot reads and processes many projects, some of which are under copyright, some programmers were wondering if it violates said copyright:

There are also people who say, nope, that's not what's happening:

GitHub Copilot is not infringing your copyright

I was frankly surprised by the amount of hand-wringing this product is causing, though given that this is the internet, I probably should not be so.

Still, I think this is going to be a very useful tool, so I signed up for the waitlist. If you'd like to join the waitlist to get Copilot, you can do so at this link.

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