GitHub has announced the public beta release of Copilot Chat, a coding assistant designed to help developers with their coding tasks. The feature, which is now available to all business users via Microsoft's Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code apps, was initially announced in March as part of GitHub's Copilot X initiative.
Copilot X Expands Copilot Code Completion
Copilot X, an expansion of the original Copilot code completion tool, integrates with OpenAI's GPT-4 model. The tool aims to save developers time by enabling them to execute complex tasks with simple prompts. According to GitHub, Copilot Chat is contextually aware of the code being typed into the code editor and any error messages, which should help it provide the most relevant support within a developer-specific environment.
Key Features of Copilot Chat
GitHub Copilot Chat offers several key features, including real-time guidance tailored to specific coding projects, coding analysis that explains code suggestions and complex coding concepts, and simple troubleshooting to identify potential issues.
Mario Rodriguez, GitHub's vice president of product, made some bold claims about Copilot X's potential to increase developer productivity. According to Rodriguez, the software will allow even inexperienced developers to build entire applications or debug vast arrays of code in a matter of minutes instead of days, improving efficiency tenfold.
“This means 10 days of work, done in one day. 10 hours of work, done in one hour. 10 minutes of work, done with a single prompt command,” said Rodriguez in the official announcement.
Beyond a Chat Window
GitHub Copilot Chat is more than just a chat window. It's contextually aware of the code a developer has typed or what error messages are shown. Unlike a general-purpose generative AI chat assistant, GitHub Copilot Chat is designed for developers and fits right into the IDE.
The Future of Coding with AI
GitHub believes this is just the starting point of the economic and productivity gains developers will experience with the power of generative AI. As GitHub prepares to bring the entirety of GitHub Copilot X to general availability, they believe every developer could be made 10 times more productive.
Next Steps for GitHub Copilot X
While Copilot Chat is a significant feature of GitHub's new Copilot X system, the company is also working on other features, including its “Hey, GitHub!” voice-to-code interactions. Although GitHub has not provided a release timeline for the remaining Copilot X features, the launch of the Copilot Chat beta marks a significant step towards bringing GitHub Copilot X to enterprises. For more information or to sign up for the beta, visit github.com.
The Evolution of GitHub Copilot
GitHub Copilot was launched in 2021 as an AI program co-development between Microsoft and partner OpenAI. The AI tool launched fully in 2022, giving users automated code that fills in gaps in their own projects. Today, Microsoft is offering GitHub Copilot X, an updated version of the service that integrates OpenAI's GPT-4 AI model.
Microsoft has invested billions on top of its initial investment into OpenAI in January. Any questions about what the company gets from the partnership have been quickly answered. Microsoft has taken the lead over Big Tech rivals in AI development. In fact, Microsoft is currently the only major tech company streamlining AI.
Controversies Surrounding GitHub Copilot
Despite Microsoft's ongoing development of GitHub Copilot, it is not without its issues. The service is facing a class action lawsuit by Matthew Butterick, who claims Microsoft is violating GitHub's policies and code ethics such as attribution. Elsewhere, a recent study shows Copilot may produce less accurate and less secure code than human developers.