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Get answers to your questions about GitHub Copilot, an AI pair programmer that suggests code. Learn about its training data, limitations, privacy, and more.

GitHub Copilot is an innovative tool developed by OpenAI that aims to assist developers in writing code more efficiently. This article provides answers to frequently asked questions about GitHub Copilot, shedding light on its features, training data, limitations, and best practices for maximizing its potential.

Unleashing the Power of GitHub Copilot: Features and Training Data

GitHub Copilot utilizes OpenAI Codex, a generative pretrained language model, to provide code suggestions and help developers write code faster. The tool draws context from comments and existing code to instantly propose individual lines and entire functions. It has been trained on a vast range of natural language text and publicly available source code, including repositories on GitHub.

 Understanding the Limitations of GitHub Copilot: Imperfect Code Generation

While GitHub Copilot strives to generate high-quality code, it is important to note that it does not produce perfect code. Evaluations have shown that developers accept an average of 26% of all completions suggested by GitHub Copilot. It is designed to provide the best possible code based on the context it has access to, but it may not always generate working or optimal solutions. It has a limited context and may not make use of functions defined elsewhere in the project. It may also suggest outdated usage of libraries and languages.

 Optimizing the Usage of GitHub Copilot: Best Practices and Suggestions

To make the most of GitHub Copilot, developers are encouraged to structure their code into small functions, use meaningful names for function parameters, and maintain good docstrings and comments. The tool is particularly helpful when working with unfamiliar libraries or frameworks, as it can assist in navigating and understanding their usage.

Engaging with GitHub Copilot: Contributing and Ensuring Safety

Users of GitHub Copilot can actively contribute to its improvement by using the tool and providing feedback through the feedback forum. Additionally, incidents such as offensive output, code vulnerabilities, or personal information in code generation should be reported directly to [email protected]. GitHub takes safety and security seriously and is committed to enhancing its safeguards. Users have control over the code generated by GitHub Copilot and should thoroughly test, review, and vet the suggested code.


In conclusion, GitHub Copilot is an AI-powered tool designed to assist developers in writing code more efficiently. It leverages OpenAI Codex, a generative pretrained language model, to provide suggestions for individual lines and whole functions based on the context of comments and code. While GitHub Copilot can significantly speed up coding workflows, it does not write perfect code. It generates code based on the available context and does not test the code for functionality or correctness.

The training data for GitHub Copilot comes from publicly available sources, including natural language text and source code from repositories on GitHub. However, it may have limitations when it comes to writing code for new platforms or when there is limited public code available for a specific codebase. As more examples enter the public space, GitHub Copilot’s suggestion relevance improves.

To get the most out of GitHub Copilot, developers are advised to divide their code into small functions, use meaningful names for function parameters, and provide clear documentation. It can be especially helpful when navigating unfamiliar libraries or frameworks.

Users can contribute to the improvement of GitHub Copilot by using the tool and sharing feedback in the feedback forum. Reporting incidents, such as offensive output or code vulnerabilities, directly to GitHub is also encouraged.

In terms of privacy, GitHub Copilot takes measures to protect transmitted prompts and suggestions. The data is encrypted both in transit and at rest, and access is strictly controlled. While the training set for GitHub Copilot may include personal data, the tool synthesizes suggestions and does not output personal data verbatim from the training set. Efforts are made to filter and block personal information in the suggestions, and improvements to the filtering system are ongoing.

GitHub Copilot’s suggestions should be assessed and reviewed like any other code, ensuring its suitability and addressing potential security vulnerabilities. It is important to note that GitHub does not own the code generated by GitHub Copilot, and developers are responsible for reviewing and vetting the code before using it in production.

GitHub Copilot strives for fairness and accessibility. However, its performance may be impacted when prompts are not in English or contain grammatical errors. Offensive outputs are filtered, and efforts are made to improve the system’s ability to detect and remove offensive content.

For Copilot for Business users, some data is collected for the purpose of providing the service and improving the product, but prompts and suggestions are not retained. Copilot for Individuals also collects data for similar purposes, and user engagement data is required for its usage.

In summary, GitHub Copilot is a powerful AI tool that can enhance coding productivity, but it should be used with caution, following best practices for code review, testing, and security. Continuous user feedback and improvement efforts are crucial to ensure its effectiveness and address potential concerns related to privacy, fairness, and accessibility.


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