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GitHub Copilot X and the redefinition of the role of programmers

GitHub Copilot X and the redefinition of the role of programmers

Cristian Amaral's photo
Cristian Amaral
·Mar 27, 2023·

4 min read

Table of contents

  • Microsoft is setting the game rules
  • Five Copilot X’s features that will change coding forever

🛂 Versão Português Brasil

GitHub announced Copilot X, their next-gen coding assistant powered by GPT-4. We can tell you this: it makes the old Copilot look like a child's toy.

According to the YouTube channel Fireship, you might feel a bit pessimistic once all of our open-source code, Stack Overflow answers, and tutorials have been used to build large language models that are now being aggressively deployed to automate white-collar jobs.

But fear not, brave developer, because programming is not dead! 🦾 The AI inflection point of 2023 that we’re living in won’t wipe out your job if you keep pace with this ever-growing technology.

The guys at the Fireship said that AI still can't deliver a great product to the end user and will need programmers who understand how to build these systems - but now, they'll be able to build them 10x faster thanks to AI tooling.

Bottom line: It's a great time to be alive if you love building things! 🔥

But we have a kind of menacing scenario being built with this fast-as-lightning evolution.

Microsoft is setting the game rules

“The scary thing, though, is that Microsoft is single-handedly dominating the space", said Fireship.

Last week was a parade of new products: Bing Chat, Copilot for Office, Bing Image Generator, and now Copilot X.

But hey, hats off to Microsoft's persistence with Bing, right? They endured over a decade of people trashing it. During that time, the company acquired GitHub and took a significant stake in OpenAI. “And now, in just a week, all of their products look years ahead of the competition”, said Fireship.

Five Copilot X’s features that will change coding forever

GitHub Copilot X is currently in technical preview, so you can't use it today. 😭 Still, it has at least five game-changing features:

  • Chat window: With this built-in chat window tool, you will get to highlight a block of code and ask for a description, or ask it to refactor it - or better yet, have it generate some unit tests. These things you can already do with ChatGPT, but now it'll be highly specialized for coding problems directly in your IDE - and, most importantly, it'll have the context of your code base. Remember: GPT 4 can handle 25 000 tokens versus only 3 000 in GPT 3.5.

  • Tailored docs: Instead of going to the actual docs or Stack Overflow, with Copilot for Documentation, you will generate answers based on specific library documentation. GitHub is integrating the docs for React, Azure, and MDN, allowing you to generate answers and tutorials on the fly (ok, programming instructors, maybe here you’re allowed to feel a little afraid of becoming obsolete). 😬

  • Voice coding: With Voice Activated Copilot, you won't have to be a super fast typist. Now it's possible to control VS Code and write code entirely from voice commands. Besides being quicker than typing, this feature allows you to write code when you otherwise couldn't, like when you're running on the treadmill or in traffic. "The keyboard won't become obsolete, but it'll revolutionize the way things get done in the same way Alexa changed the way people do things in the household," said Fireship.

  • PR descriptions: Copilot for Pull Requests is a relief for those who suffer from a nervous breakdown whenever submit a pull request to an important project and struggle to figure out the appropriate description. Copilot X can generate that description based on the changes that you made to the code.

  • AI CLI: You no longer need to memorize endless Linux commands. AI auto-completion will happen both in the text editor and the terminal. All you have to do is to tell it what you want, inform a Library (like FFmpeg), and it will generate the command along with an explanation. From there, you can run it or revise it if needed.

Have you got anxious? We too! But all we can do for now is to sit back and check the e-mail once in a while to start playing with this groundbreaking new toy from Microsoft.

You can join the GitHub Copilot chat waitlist here.

 
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