JetBrains Faces Backlash Over Unwanted AI Assistant

In December, JetBrains, the Czech Republic-based software development tool maker, introduced its AI assistant, aimed at aiding programmers in code writing within their integrated development environments (IDEs) and code editors. Similar to GitHub Copilot, JetBrains AI Assistant quickly became a point of contention among its user base.

Despite the general enthusiasm surrounding neural-network-powered services, concerns related to security, legal risks, privacy, and ethical implications remain unresolved. Tech giants like Google, Microsoft, and OpenAI have opted to provide indemnification to customers under specific conditions to alleviate concerns about potential legal claims arising from generative AI.

JetBrains, however, is now grappling with the challenge of allowing its customers to remove the AI Assistant, as its code has been deeply integrated into the company’s development tools. Numerous threads on JetBrains’ YouTrack issue board reflect users seeking ways to delete, uninstall, or entirely remove the AI Assistant plugin.

The discussions highlight various concerns raised by users, including viewing the plugin as “bloatware,” a threat to corporate intellectual property, a security risk, an annoyance, and a breach of trust. Some users argue that corporate policies, incompatible with the AI Assistant, make it imperative to remove the plugin entirely.

Developers expressed worries about the AI-based service’s lack of transparency regarding code provenance and licensing issues. A prevailing sentiment among the users is the fear that the AI Assistant might compromise the security of sensitive information, potentially leaking company intellectual property to undisclosed entities or competitors.

In response to the outcry, Matt Ellis, developer advocate at JetBrains, attempted to address concerns and clarify misconceptions. He emphasized that although the AI Assistant plugin is bundled with the software, no AI functionality is enabled by default, and no data is sent off the machine without the user’s consent. Ellis assured users that the company is exploring options to make the AI Assistant both bundled and fully removable, acknowledging the challenge of maintaining application signatures and avoiding issues with updates. an an an an an an

While JetBrains claims to have a substantial number of satisfied customers using the bundled AI plugin, the company recognizes the importance of addressing the concerns raised by the user community. The spokesperson emphasized that feedback from all users, both supportive and critical, is being taken into consideration as JetBrains navigates the controversy surrounding its AI Assistant.