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Copilot Chat will let developers ask whatever questions they like about GitHub code

GitHub is putting its generative AI-powered Copilot Chat in the hands of even more customers with the latest iteration, which is now available in Visual Studio Code and Visual Studio.

The tool is designed to allow coders to ask and receive answers to coding-related questions, and was already available to Copilot for Business customers. More recently, individual Copilot customers had access to the GPT-4-powered productivity tool.

Now, it is available in Microsoft’s IDEs as part of paid GitHub Copilot subscriptions. Verified teachers, students, and certain open-source project maintainers will continue to get it for free.

GitHub Copilot Chat for more customers

GitHub Product Management VP Shuyin Zhao told TechCrunch: “As home to the world’s developers, we’ve brought to market what is now the most widely adopted AI developer tool in history.”

A GitHub help document says that Copilot Chat can answer questions about syntax, programming concepts, test cases, debugging, and more.

Although it’s trained on widely available public data and uses a lot of the same technology as the popular ChatGPT tool that has been available for more than 12 months, GitHub says that Copilot Chat “is not designed to answer non-coding questions or provide general information on topics outside of coding.”

GitHub itself admits that the chatbot could produce inaccurate code, security risks, and biases, as well as matches with public code. However, the tool is designed to be a human aid, instead offering itself as a powerful code explainer and fixer.

TechCrunch’s Kyle Wiggers asked Zhao whether codebase owners would be able to opt out of training the OpenAI model. Zhao confirmed that this could not be possible, suggesting that users with privacy concerns should make their codebases private in the first instance.

Looking ahead, the future for GitHub Copilot remains precarious. Several months ago it was reported that some users were using more Copilot credits than their monthly fee budgets for, leaving the business unprofitable in some cases.

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