GitHub’s AI Coding Chatbot Is Available In Public Beta

Those with a business subscription can now get a helping hand in executing complex coding tasks.

GitHub has today launched its new Copilot Chat feature, designed to help developers with coding through a chatbot-like experience.

It was originally announced back in March as part of GitHub’s Copilot X initiative, which aimed to integrate OpenAI’s GPT-4 model into its code completion tool. The goal was to give the chatbot the ability to recognize code and recommend changes or bug fixes.

This latest tool is an extension that can be installed into a user’s preferred environment. From there it lets them ask coding-related questions and will share code suggestions, natural language descriptions of a piece of code’s functionality and purpose, propose bug fixes and generate unit tests.

While it may seem like a case of ‘another day, another tech giant launching their own chatbot’, GitHub’s latest innovation has the potential to save developers – and businesses – huge amounts of time and money.

It is available now for all business users via Microsoft’s Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code apps.

A Single Command Could Save 10 Minutes Of Work

According to GitHub, the tool’s goal is to “execute some of the most complex tasks with simple prompts” in order to save time.

In fact, if GitHub’s vice president of product, Mario Rodriguez is to be believed, it’s going to save developers a significant amount of time. 

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In a blog post announcing the beta, he stated that even inexperienced developers would be able to build “entire applications or debug vast arrays of code in a matter of minutes instead of days. 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.”

Copilot Chat will provide real-time and tailored guidance to developers by being contextually aware of the code going into its code editor. It’ll also recognize error messages in order for it to provide the relevant support and bug solutions.

GitHub Makes Lofty GDP Claims

Rodriguez continues “we want to help developers spend their time on what matters most: building what’s next”, and it appears they’re already helping to make significant productivity gains.

According to GitHub, Copilot is already affording over 20,000 developers and businesses the ability to do their work in half the time.

Similarly, in joint research efforts with Keystone.AI and Harvard Business School professor Marco Iansiti, it’s estimated that generative AI tools, like Copilot, “have the potential to increase global gross domestic product (GDP) by $1.5trillion by 2030.”

And There’s More To Come

Not content with just releasing a chatbot, GitHub has confirmed more time-saving features are on the horizon too. All with the aim of “keeping developers in the flow” which has become a challenge of late, thanks to cloud computing, programming frameworks and a rise in languages.

The proposed “Hey, GitHub!” featured will allow programmers to develop codes with just their voice, making it particularly interesting and useful with regards to accessibility.

It’s currently being developed for the Copilot X system, but does not yet have a release timeline.

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Written by:
Ellis Di Cataldo (MA) has over 9 years experience writing about, and for, some of the world’s biggest tech companies. She's been the lead writer across digital campaigns, always-on content and worldwide product launches, for global brands including Sony, Electrolux, Byrd, The Open University and Barclaycard. Her particular areas of interest are business trends, startup stories and product news.
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