AI becomes software engineer: Startup unveils ‘Devin’ who is good at coding, fixing bugs

Cognition, an AI startup has introduced a new fully autonomous AI software engineer named ‘Devin’. The new AI tool has been introduced at a time when thousands of workers in the IT sector are either facing the prospect of layoffs or have already been fired from their jobs. While many other AI chatbots can easily write code, Devin specializes in it. The startup is backed by Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund and tech industry leaders including former Twitter executive Elad Gil and Doordash co-founder Tony Xu.

Unlike existing coding assistants, Devin stands out with its ability to handle entire development projects end-to-end, from writing the code and fixing associated bugs to final execution. This marks a significant shift in the AI-assisted development space, offering engineers a full-fledged AI worker for their projects, rather than a copilot who could merely write barebones code or suggest snippets.

The founder and CEO of Cognition, Scott Wu, explained in a blog post that Devin can access common developer tools, including his own shell, code editor, and browser, within a sandboxed compute environment to plan and execute complex engineering tasks requiring thousands of decisions . The human user simply types a natural language prompt into Devin’s chatbot style interface, and the AI ​​software engineer takes it from there, developing a detailed, step-by-step plan to tackle the problem.

Devin then begins the project using its developer tools, just like how a human would use them, writing its own code, fixing issues, testing, and reporting on its progress in real-time. This allows the user to keep an eye on everything as it works. If something doesn’t look right to the human observer, the user can also jump into the chat interface and give the AI ​​a command to fix it.

This, Cognition says, enables engineering teams to delegate some of their projects to the AI ​​and focus on more creative tasks that require human intelligence. In this way, Devin offers a new paradigm that may be a glimpse of the way all software development — and computer work generally — may be done in the near-future: by AI workers supervised by human supervisors/users.

As of now, Devin remains non-public, with the company opening access only to a select few customers. However, the announcement of Devin has already sparked interest and excitement in the tech industry, marking a significant milestone in the journey towards AI-assisted software development.