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What’s Microsoft Copilot? The AI assistant for Home windows defined

AI chatbots are all the rage right now. Typically, you’ll access them from your computer, and they’re ready to help you with all manner of tasks. But these brainy chatbots are still new. It might have slipped under the radar, but Microsoft offers its own assistant, which is powered by the same tech behind ChatGPT. Dubbed Copilot, it lives on the web, and even comes baked into Windows.

But what exactly is Copilot? How does it work? What can you do with it? Here’s everything you need to know about Microsoft’s AI-powered assistant.

What is Microsoft Copilot?

Copilot is an AI powered chatbot from Microsoft. This conversational maestro is designed to churn out text, images, and even code on command. Fancy a two-sentence summary of a document that could double as a sleep aid? Copilot’s got you. Need an image of a unicorn DJing on Mars? Just ask.

It’s powered by some of the brainiest AI tech on the block, namely ChatGPT (and GPT-4) and DALL-E 3 from OpenAI, sprinkled with Microsoft’s own tech. It’s an ever-evolving creature, constantly changing faster than your mood on a Monday morning. Remember Bing Chat? That’s ancient history now; it’s all Copilot these days.

The most straightforward access point is via its website. This is ground zero for Copilot’s magic, offering the full suite of capabilities without the need for any downloads or installations. For the Windows aficionados, Copilot integrates directly into the fabric of your operating system. If you’re an Edge user, Copilot snuggles right into the sidebar, giving you seamless access to its text and image generation capabilities without ever leaving your browser window. Plus, Copilot shines within the Microsoft 365 suite. With a paid subscription, it embeds directly into apps like Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint

Microsoft has made Copilot free to use (though there is a paid-for pro version available – more on that later). This free version isn’t just a teaser. It’s fully loaded with the capability to generate text, conjure images, and even dole out advice on command. You can access it in all the same places as above.

How does it work?

Copilot draws its smarts from a cocktail of AI models. At its core, you’ll find OpenAI’s GPT-4 for text generation and DALL-E 3 for whipping up images. Then there’s the vast knowledge pool from Bing’s web scraping, all seasoned with Microsoft’s Natural Language Processing and a pinch of Text to Speech for that human touch.

These AI models are neural networks with hundreds of gigabytes of training data stored. Though, most instances are in the cloud, located in a data centre somewhere with an internet front-end. The pre-training for GPT involved it absorbing 100s of billions of words from the internet and their associations with other words, plus code in languages such as Python and CSS. It’s just as capable of reading and writing computer programs as it is realistic sentence structure in English, French, and almost 100 other languages.

But it’s not just about the ingredients; it’s how Copilot blends them to make magic happen. Whether you’re after a pithy summary, a bespoke image, or even a snippet of code, Copilot is like that know-it-all mate who actually does know it all.

What can I do with it?

Copilot is your go-to for a staggering range of tasks. On its home turf, the, and Bing, it’s an all-singing, all-dancing digital genie, ready to book tables or plan your next getaway with plug-ins like OpenTable and Kayak. Fancy tweaking your Windows settings without navigating through what feels like a digital maze? Ask Copilot.

There’s a pro version too

For those who take their AI companionship seriously, Copilot Pro is a more premium version of the AI assistant. It turbocharges your Copilot experience, making everything faster and integrating seamlessly with your beloved Office apps. Imagine Copilot, but with a jetpack, ready to zip through Word, Excel, and Outlook at breakneck speed.

It’s not just about speed, though; it’s about personalization. With Copilot Pro, your AI companion can draw on your data to deliver even more tailored assistance. You can build these, similarly to GPTs in ChatGPT. It lets you make a version of the chatbot for a specific task that it’s an expert in.

Starting at $20 a month for the individual and small business plan, it’s like stepping into the first-class cabin of AI assistance, complete with all the trimmings. And for the big players, there are options galore, from bespoke solutions for sales and customer service to the ultra-customizable Copilot Studio, starting at $200 a month.

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