GitHub unveils ‘Copilot X’ vision with AI assistant features powered via GPT-4

March 23, 2023

Microsoft-owned GitHub announced its “vision for the future” of its successful AI tool Copilot. Called the “Copilot X,” the company described it as “a readily accessible AI assistant throughout the entire development lifecycle,” which will include several different AI-powered features.

GitHub is among the first to benefit from Microsoft’s partnership with OpenAI. Through the AI research lab’s Codex model, Copilot was born and became a successful tool aiding programmers and developers. And as Microsoft continues its multibillion-dollar investment in OpenAI, which recently unveiled the GPT-4, more of its products and services evolve. This includes GitHub, which announced the Copilot X vision with more advanced AI assistant features and capabilities.

According to GitHub, “GitHub Copilot X is currently a representation of GitHub’s vision for the future rather than an available product offering of GitHub Copilot.” Nonetheless, it noted that the rollout of Copilot X features might include feature set changes in Copilot for Business and Copilot for Individuals subscription offerings. 

Some of the tests included in Copilot X include the “GitHub Copilot Chat,” which will serve as an assistant to users in detecting errors, providing in-depth analysis and code block explanations, generating unit tests, bug fix recommendations, and more. According to GitHub, this feature is embedded into the IDE and is a product of Microsoft’s earlier work with Bing Chat.

GitHub Copilot Chat joins the other AI assistant features being tested in Copilot, including the experimental “Hey, GitHub!” the company announced in November last year. This feature, which is currently in technical preview, should allow developers to command Copilot in writing code using certain natural language prompts (e.g., “Hey, GitHub! go to line 34,” “Hey, GitHub! go to method X,” or “Hey, GitHub! go to next block,”). Now, the company is renaming the experiment “GitHub Copilot Voice.”

On the other hand, as part of Microsoft’s move to upgrade its products using OpenAI’s GPT-4 model, GitHub announced the technical preview of Copilot for Pull Requests. According to GitHub, this adds support for AI-powered tags in pull request descriptions through a GitHub app, wherein GitHub Copilot automatically fills out the tags based on the changed code. GitHub said there are also other tests related to this feature.

“We’re testing new capabilities internally where GitHub Copilot will automatically suggest sentences and paragraphs as developers create pull requests by dynamically pulling in information about code changes,” GitHub CEO Thomas Dohmke wrote in a blog post. “We are also preparing a new feature where GitHub Copilot will automatically warn developers if they’re missing sufficient testing for a pull request and then suggest potential tests that can be edited, accepted, or rejected based on a project’s needs.”

Aside from those things, other experiments include the “GitHub Copilot for Docs” (a chat interface capable of producing AI-generated responses to documentation questions) and GitHub Copilot CLI or command line interface (for composing commands and loops).

Currently, GitHub still has no clear guidelines on when it will officially offer Copilot X and how much it will cost. However, each of the features mentioned above now accepts registrations for the waitlist and technical previews, which interested users should join separately.

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