[kcdc 2022] level up with co-pilot

Speaker: Rizel Scarlett @blackgirlbytes

For more, see theĀ table of contents


  • AI pair programmer
  • Not magic
  • Compare to Gmail smart compose – suggests continuations
  • Draws context from comments/code
  • Suggests lines/functions

Open AI

  • Powered by Open AI Codex – translates natural language into code
  • GPT-3 – generative pre-trained tranformer 3 – deep learning to produce human like text
  • Duolingo GPT-3 uses for grammar correction
  • Codex code based
  • Played with https://beta.openai.com/examples – Movie to Emoji and Mood to Color (many others).
  • There is also https://beta.openai.com/playground (if you login) where it can generate code from a comment. Even lets you specify a language
  • Also learned you can paste a hex code into google and have it show you the color

Copilot Labs

  • Hover over suggestion to get more
  • Experimental feature to include an explanation of what code does
  • Plugins – VS Code, JetBrains, Neovim
  • Can choose not to include public code
  • Can do some (human) language translation


  • Code faster and clear – good at patterns, syntax (ex: regex) so don’t need to google, write better comments so copilot can give good suggestions
  • Write good docs – in markup
  • Be a better mentor – avoids nervousness of someone watching you type because don’t have to worry about syntax, helps mentor people in languages don’t know
  • Gain context for new concepts – studying for interviews (leetcode), explain new code base, create short demos in new languages as dev advocate


  • Turn off when writing initial structure. Turn on once have pattern going. Comments not useful at first.
  • Good when writing unit tests.


  • $10/month
  • Free if open source or student

My take

Rizel has a lot of energy and is very relatable. She also did “group play” with openai early. All of that helped engage the audience. I’ve read about co-pilot but it was really cool to see it and the features/benefits/use cases. I enjoyed seeing her passion for the tool and the examples. I also liked how she avoided it from devolving into an argument about the ethics of co-pilot. Rizel didn’t let the wifi problem throw her. It was unfortunate that the demo didn’t work even though other internet stuff did. [block? too bandwidth heavy?] The code to tweet was cool

For co-pilot, some looks cool. Some of the comments were longer than the code. So in real life, I imagine you wouldn’t use it for everything.

One thought on “[kcdc 2022] level up with co-pilot

  1. I’m not concerned about the ethics debate – I think most of what Copilot does would be fair use. But I am concerned about the security and quality of the resulting code. There’s already too much “development by StackOverflow” going on, with all the consequences for quality and security one can imagine. Copilot takes this up another notch, as noted recently in the BlackHat conference (German article that does a good job summarizing at https://www.heise.de/news/Programmierhilfe-GitHub-Copilot-macht-Code-unsicherer-7217314.html, original paper at https://arxiv.org/pdf/2108.09293.pdf).

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