GitHub has launched GPT-4 powered CopilotX code assistant. As a part of the “Copilot X” vision, the system will integrate OpenAI’s GPT-4 model and provide chat and voice support to its AI pair programmer. The updated GitHub Copilot will include a new feature that enables the chatbot to recognize, explain, and recommend code changes and fix bugs, providing a ChatGPT-like experience inside code editors.
In an interview, GitHub CEO Thomas Dohmke explained that with Copilot X, the company is outlining its future vision for Copilot, where AI is integrated at every stage of the developer lifecycle. Dohmke believes that this will significantly impact the developer experience.
The technical preview of GitHub’s Copilot chat goes beyond basic auto-complete comments and coding. It serves as a true coding assistant, much like Microsoft’s Copilot for Microsoft 365 apps.
GitHub Copilot is set to revolutionize the development process by assisting in various ways. For instance, the AI system can analyze code for security vulnerabilities, explain how code blocks work, or even help rewrite sections and add comments for future reference. The best part is that Copilot can be accessed easily from within your integrated development environment (IDE), ready to receive commands.
According to GitHub CEO Thomas Dohmke, the idea behind Copilot is similar to Bing chat or the Microsoft Edge sidebar, except it is specifically designed for developers. Copilot’s primary focus is on code; users can ask it to fix, explain, or even write unit tests.
The latest Copilot update offers a full view of your IDE, enabling the AI system to know what you’ve typed and where it can be most useful. While the sidebar is similar to Bing chat in Microsoft Edge, GitHub is working on additional features allowing Copilot to appear elsewhere.
Dohmke further revealed that the company is developing a mode that allows users to bring up the chat interface in line with the code. This means that prompts can be made within the code, which then expands in the codebase, providing more convenience and flexibility to developers.
With the new and improved Copilot, coding without a keyboard is now possible. GitHub has integrated its “Hey, GitHub!” functionality into its AI-powered chat system, allowing users to command Copilot with their voice and receive responses to their queries or suggestions for lines of code without typing a single key.
To power its new chat and existing auto-complete features, GitHub is using a combination of OpenAI models. Smaller models, such as the Codex model, are used for faster responses when typing in an editor, while larger models like GPT-4 are utilized for more accurate responses in chat.
In addition, the updated Copilot will now assist with AI-generated answers to code documentation, offering solutions for React, Azure docs, and MDN. GitHub leverages AI to scan open-source repositories and provide more up-to-date answers through its chat interface than GPT-4’s training set of data can offer.
Also, GitHub Copilot will be available in pull requests to aid developers in creating AI-generated descriptions. GitHub Copilot automatically completes tags based on changes made to the code, which developers can then review and modify.
“We invented the pull request over a decade ago, so the next step for us was to bring Copilot into the pull request,” explains Dohmke. “You can ask Copilot to describe the pull request to you or request Copilot to generate tests.”
Furthermore, GitHub Copilot is being introduced to the command line interface (CLI) to help developers write and execute commands more efficiently. As developers spend significant time in the terminal, remembering various command syntaxes can be difficult. Copilot is designed to assist in the process.
Initially, the new Copilot X system will be available only in Microsoft’s Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code apps during the technical preview. However, GitHub intends to expand it to other IDEs in the future. “We want to support and meet developers where they are and support the whole ecosystem, just as the current Copilot is available in JetBrains and Neovim,” says Dohmke.
The new features of GitHub’s Copilot X system seem to be similar to Microsoft 365 Copilot. The Copilot in Microsoft Office applications appears to revolutionize how we create spreadsheets and Word documents, and now GitHub is enhancing its already impressive AI assistant.
Considering that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is a fan of the Copilot name, could there be a singular Copilot in the future that assists with coding one minute and organizes your life, and responds to your emails the next?
“By eliminating the mundane aspects of our work and personal lives, we can concentrate on the more imaginative components,” Dohmke explains. “By having fewer emails and fewer things to read and comprehend, and instead having this Copilot layer that serves as your agent and reminds you of the tasks you need to complete.”
GitHub Copilot has been instrumental in enhancing developer productivity for over a million individuals, allowing them to code up to 55% more quickly, according to GitHub. Dohmke anticipates that this will rise even more with these new chat features and that AI assistants like Copilot will be essential in how individuals learn to code in the future.
“It will be the tool that remembers what you learned at the age of six,” Dohmke adds. “The present generation of children will have a super brain that will become an essential component of their learning journey as human beings.”