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Stack Overflow Embraces AI: Unveils OverflowAI Tools for Developers

Once wary of AI, Stack Overflow now embraces it

Ben Wodecki

July 28, 2023

2 Min Read
Stack Overflow logo
Credit: Stack Overflow

At a Glance

  • After banning ChatGPT, Stack Overflow is unveiling AI tools to provide developers with AI assistance.
  • New offerings include a coding chatbots for Slack and plugins to aid developers.

After initially being cautious about AI, popular coding Q&A platform Stack Overflow is now embracing it, unveiling a host of new AI offerings under the name ‘OverflowAI.’

Among the revelations at the ‘WeAreDevelopers World Congress’ in Berlin include plugins, integrations for Slack and Microsoft Teams, and a dedicated AI discussion community.

Notable among the unveilings was OverflowAI Search, which gives users of Stack Overflow's public-facing platform access to what the company calls "trustworthy and accurate solutions” powered by generative AI.

OverflowAI Search comes after Stack Overflow famously banned the use of ChatGPT on its platform late last year over concerns about the reliability of the code output it generated.

Several months on, Stack Overflow is using its vast trough of coding knowledge built up from 58 million questions and answers to use AI to generate solutions to user problems. Generated responses are attributed and cited, with users able to query the knowledge base further with follow-up questions.

“There is no doubt that with widespread access to generative AI tools that code will be created more quickly and the volume is likely to explode with code completion tools and the need for trust in their output will only increase for developers,” said Prashanth Chandrasekar, Stack Overflow CEO.

Focus on AI to aid developers

In June, Stack Overflow’s annual developer survey found that coders are increasingly looking to AI tools as part of their development workflow.

To support developer work, Stack Overflow unveiled Stack Overflow for Teams, so users can curate knowledge bases from existing content. An AI system would create the first drafts of a tagging structure and recommend questions and answers, freeing up developers to focus on adding value by curating and refining the content to validate accuracy.

The company also showcased StackPlusOne, the company’s chatbot that is coming to Slack. It answers code questions while keeping a company’s data private, according to Stack Overflow.

Also, the OverflowAI Visual Studio Code Plugin was unveiled as a way to not break developer workflow. The plugin is designed to pull in validated content from both the public platform and a user's private Stack Overflow for Teams to help them with problem-solving.

The newly announced dedicated Generative AI Stack Exchange will serve as a community for developers to exchange prompts as well as general points about AI.

Stack Overflow’s Natural Language Processing Collective is also getting a Discussions feature, to provide users with a space to debate technical approaches and explore different perspectives.

Read more about:

ChatGPT / Generative AI

About the Author(s)

Ben Wodecki

Jr. Editor

Ben Wodecki is the Jr. Editor of AI Business, covering a wide range of AI content. Ben joined the team in March 2021 as assistant editor and was promoted to Jr. Editor. He has written for The New Statesman, Intellectual Property Magazine, and The Telegraph India, among others. He holds an MSc in Digital Journalism from Middlesex University.

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