GitHub Copilot, one of several recent tools for generating programming code suggestions with the help of AI models, remains problematic for some users due to licensing concerns and to the telemetry the software sends back to the Microsoft-owned company.
So Brendan Dolan-Gavitt, assistant professor in the computer science and engineering department at NYU Tandon, has released FauxPilot, an alternative to Copilot that runs locally, without phoning home to the Microsoft mothership.
Copilot relies on OpenAI Codex, a natural language-to-code system based on GPT-3 that was trained on "billions of lines of public code" in GitHub repositories. That has made advocates of free and open source software (FOSS) uncomfortable because Microsoft and GitHub have failed to specify exactly which repositories informed Codex.
As Bradley Kuhn, policy fellow at the Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC), wrote in a blog post earlier this year, "Copilot leaves copyleft compliance as an exercise for the user. Users likely face growing liability that only increases as Copilot improves. Users currently have no methods besides serendipity and educated guesses to know whether Copilot’s output is copyrighted by someone else."