Microsoft Code Recommendations: Objectivity and Relevance, Anyone?

June 30, 2021

The “real news” outfit CNBC published an interesting news item: “Microsoft and OpenAI Have a New A.I. Tool That Will Give Coding Suggestions to Software Developers.” The write up states:

Microsoft on Tuesday announced an artificial intelligence system that can recommend code for software developers to use as they write code…The system, called GitHub Copilot, draws on source code uploaded to code-sharing service GitHub, which Microsoft acquired in 2018, as well as other websites. Microsoft and GitHub developed it with help from OpenAI, an AI research start-up that Microsoft backed in 2019.

The push to make programming “easier” is moving into Recommendation Land. Recommendation technology from Bing is truly remarkable. Here’s a quick example. Navigate to Bing and enter the query “Louisville KY bookkeeper.” Here are the results:


The page is mostly ads and links to intermediaries who sell connections to bookkeepers accepting new clients, wonky “best” lists, and links to two bookkeeping companies. FYI: There are dozens of bookkeeping services in Louisville, and the optimal way to get recommendations is to pose a query to the Web site.

Now a question: How “objective” will these code suggestions be? Will there be links to open source supported by or contributed to by such exemplary organizations as Amazon, Google, and IBM, among others?

My hunch is that Bing points the way to the future. I will be interested to see what code is recommended to a developer working on a smart cyber security system, which may challenge the most excellentness of Microsoft’s own offerings.

Stephen E Arnold, June 30, 2021


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