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BigCode: Open and responsible research on code-generating AI systems

Hosted by Harm de Vries and Leandro von Werra.


While code-generating AI systems like CoPilot have emerged as a powerful tool for professional developers, there are growing legal and ethical concerns around the development of these models. Questions have been raised as to whether these AI models respect current free software licenses---both for model training and generation---and what the social impact of this technology is on the free software community. The BigCode project is a scientific collaboration (with over 350 participants) working on the responsible development of code-generating AI systems. In this talk, we discuss how we navigate the legal-ethics-governance aspects around the development of these models, including how we developed a permissively licensed code dataset, give developers the option to remove their code from the training data, redact personally identifiable information (PII), and attribute generated programs to the original code snippet.


Harm de Vries is a staff research scientist at ServiceNow.

Leandro von Werra is a machine learning engineer at HuggingFace.


12 months ago

Tagged with

video · LibrePlanet 2023 video · FSF · LibrePlanet 2023 · LibrePlanet · lp2023 · libreplanet-conference · charting-the-course


CC BY-SA 4.0


This talk was presented at LibrePlanet.


LibrePlanet is the Free Software Foundation's annual conference. The FSF campaigns for free/libre software, meaning it respects users' freedom and community. We believe that users are entitled to this; all software should be free.


We do not advocate "open source".

That term was coined to reject our views. It refers to similar practices, but usually presented solely as advantageous, without talking of right and wrong.


Richard Stallman launched the free software movement in 1983 by announcing development of the free operating system, GNU. By 1992, GNU was nearly operational; one major essential component was lacking, the kernel.


In 1992, Torvalds freed the kernel Linux, which filled the last gap in GNU. Since then, the combined GNU/Linux system has run in millions of computers. Nowadays you can buy a new computer with a totally free GNU/Linux system preinstalled.


The views of the speaker may not represent the Free Software Foundation. The Foundation supports the free software cause and freedom to share, and basic freedoms in the digital domain, but has no position on other political issues.