GitHub Copilot: The Future of Code

July 6, 2021 - 5 minutes read

This past week the Seattle-based development Microsoft company  With the support of OpenAI – a research laboratory that aims to drive innovative AI research and development to ensure that artificial intelligence benefits all of humanity – this release of Copilot marks a major advancement in the development of artificial intelligence. At its core functionality, Copilot is an AI-powered code suggestion tool that helps developers write better code. With Copilot, developers are notified in real-time of code suggestions that can help them write functions in a more effective manner, or even gain insight into solving challenging problems within a given project.

To create Coilot, GitHub and OpenAI leveraged OpenAI’s proprietary OpenAI codex. This codex is a highly sophisticated AI framework that has been trained with massive datasets of public source code. By feeding this AI tool with large data sets of code, Copilot can effectively assess a developer’s code and make intelligent suggestions on how to improve. Built on a broad set of frameworks and languages, Copilot supports many common languages such as Python, Javascript, TypeScript, Go, and Ruby. 

If you know a bit about what you’re asking Copilot to code for you, and you have enough experience to clean up the code and fix the errors that it introduces, it can be very useful and save you time,” Matt Shumer, co-founder and CEO of OthersideAI, told TechTalks.

The AI-powered suggestion tool is designed in such a way to where a developer can describe a function in text format, and in doing so, Copilot will convert it to code. This phenomenal technology can help developers understand new alternative ways to approach a problem and helping reduce the time from concept to implementation.

The Future of Development

From the early days of punched tape – a coding process where holes were punched in spools of tape to store data – to Fortran, coding has always been thought of as an ever-evolving difficult task for humans to complete. It requires diligent planning, high-level problem solving, logic, and architectural design. And before considering oneself an efficient programmer, one must become proficient in a handful of coding languages and train yourself to translate ideas into coding logic. This high level of technical aptitude translates into a highly desirable skill for technology-focused organizations and can mean an above-average to high income for computer programmers. With this advancement of code-enhancing AI tools, does this signal an end for programmers?

This technical preview of Copilot has profound implications for the future of development. In the short term, many see the benefit of AI-generated code suggestions, however, what does this mean for the future of development? If AI can make code suggestions today, could AI complete full coding projects tomorrow? If so, what would this mean for developers?

This is where two schools of thought seem to emerge. Today, many individuals believe that artificial intelligence is on a trajectory to fundamentally disrupt our lives making many of our jobs obsolete. In this scenario, many worry that AI-powered tools such as Copilot will advance to such a state where rather than making code suggestions, Copilot and other AI-driven code automation tools would be able to write entire coding projected based on an idea, removing the need for developers at all! 

Contrary to this view, others believe this progress is an incredible tool that can improve the lives of developers. As artificial intelligence becomes more sophisticated, it will be able to take on more tasks that the developer was once tasked with and in doing so, free up more time for the developer to focus on other critical tasks. 

Where Do We Go From Here?

As a mobile app development organization with over ten years of experience working with some of the most advanced organizations today, we believe that artificial intelligence is going to be a major benefit to humanity rather than a hindrance. With any great advancement, many tend to worry about the negative implications. From the automobile revolutionizing travel to the internet revolutionizing business, it’s our belief that AI will act as an extremely valuable tool to society, improving the lives of developers and moving humanity forward into a new exciting chapter of technological innovation and advancement.

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