GitHub’s AI-powered Copilot Chat feature launches in public beta

GitHub has announced that its new Copilot Chat feature — a ChatGPT-like experience designed to help developers with coding — is now available as a limited public beta for enterprise companies and organizations. GitHub says the Copilot Chat beta will be available to “all business users” via Microsoft’s Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code apps.

The chatbot was announced back in March as the cornerstone of GitHub’s Copilot X initiative, an expansion of its original Copilot code completion tool that integrated with OpenAI’s GPT-4 model. The tool’s goal is to save developers time by enabling them to “execute some of the most complex tasks with simple prompts.”

You can ask the GitHub Copilot Chat to break down code.
Image: GitHub

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 for GitHub Copilot Chat include providing 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.

In a blog post announcing the beta, Mario Rodriguez, GitHub’s vice president of product, makes 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 a matter of days” and improve efficiency tenfold. “This means 10 days of work, done in one day,” said Rodriguez. “10 hours of work, done in one hour. 10 minutes of work, done with a single prompt command.”

Copilot Chat isn’t the only feature being developed for GitHub’s new Copilot X system. The company is also working on bringing its “Hey, GitHub!” voice-to-code interactions to the software, for example. GitHub says it’s preparing to launch the remaining Copilot X features but hasn’t provided a release timeline. We have asked GitHub to clarify and will update this story if we hear back.

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