Transcript Generated by Easy Cloud AI’s Beluga
It is March 23rd, 2023, and you’re watching The Code Report. Well, another day, another step towards the singularity. GitHub just announced Co-Pilot X, their next-gen coding assistant, powered by Bard. Or, no, excuse me, GPT-4. And it makes the old Co-Pilot look like a child’s toy. These AI tools are like anabolic steroids. The developers using them get a huge advantage, and within the next two years, nobody coding professionally is going to be natty.
If you’re someone who loves to code like me, or a student learning how to code, you might feel a bit pessimistic right now. 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. I drink your milkshake. But programming is not dead.
Personally, I feel extremely grateful to be living through these times. 150 years from now, when our heads are stored in a jar of preservative jelly, we’ll be telling our great-great-great-grandkids how we lived through the great AI inflection point of 2023. Resistance is futile. If you want to survive, you have to be optimistic. These tools will only make us more powerful.
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 10 times faster thanks to AI tooling. It’s a great time to be alive if you love building things. The scary thing, though, is that Microsoft is single-handedly dominating this space.
They’ve been on a Blitzkrieg attack this last week, releasing product after product. Bing Chat, Co-Pilot for Office, Bing Image Generator, and now Co-Pilot X. You have to give Microsoft credit for not killing off Bing years ago. They’ve been doing it over a decade of people trashing it. They also acquired GitHub and took a major stake in open AI.
And now, in just a week’s time, all of their products look years ahead of the competition. Saadia just gave us a free masterclass in business strategy. Case in point, GitHub Co-Pilot X. It’s currently in technical preview, so you can’t use it today, but it has at least five game-changing features. The big one is its built-in chat window.
With this tool, you’ll be able to highlight a block of code and ask it for an explanation, or ask it to refactor it, or better yet, have it generate some unit tests. These are things you can already do today with ChatGPT, but now it’ll be highly specialized for coding problems directly in your IDE. But most importantly, it’ll have the context of your actual code base.
Remember, GPT-4 can handle 25,000 tokens versus only 3,000 tokens in GPT-3.5. Feature number two is Co-Pilot for Documentation. Instead of going to the actual docs or Stack Overflow, you’ll now be able to generate answers based on a specific library’s documentation. They’re integrating the docs for React, Azure, and MDN, allowing you to generate answers and tutorials on the fly, a feature that terrifies me because it will make me obsolete as a programming instructor.
But feature three is the one I’m most excited about, Voice Activated Co-Pilot. The need to be an extremely fast typist who can churn out 150 words per minute in VIM will be far less important in the AI programming age. You mean you have to use your hands? That’s like a baby’s toy. It’s now possible to control VS Code and write code entirely from voice commands.
This is a feature I’ve always dreamed about because not only is it faster than typing, but it allows you to write code when you otherwise couldn’t, like when you’re running on the treadmill or on your commute to work. 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.
Feature number four is Co-Pilot for Pool Requests. Whenever I submit a pool request to an important project, I have a nervous breakdown trying to figure out the description. Because why would anyone want to merge my garbage code? Well now, Co-Pilot can generate that description for you based on the changes that you made to the code, which were probably made by AI anyway.
And finally, we have feature number five, the Co-Pilot CLI. AI auto-completion will not just happen in the text editor, but also in the terminal. There’s no longer a need to memorize endless Linux commands, you just tell it what you want to do with a certain library, like FFMpeg, and it will generate the command along with an explanation.
From there you can run it or revise it if needed. Looks pretty awesome, so when do I get to use it? Well, that I don’t know. I would say it’s at least months away from being ready for public consumption. And that gives us a small window to write the worst code we possibly can and put it on GitHub, do poison the training data so all of us HTML programmers can keep our six-figure jobs.
And lastly, I would like to salute all the real programmers of the last 30 years who wrote the billions of lines of code that make this beast possible. The cruel irony is that many of them were Linux users who hated Microsoft, but little did they know, they were working for Microsoft for free the whole time. This has been The Code Report, thanks for watching, and I will see you in the next one.