Microsoft has started to roll out the next major update to its flagship PC and laptop operating system, Windows 11. However, this time around, the world’s most popular computer OS comes preloaded with an AI assistant called Copilot that was developed by Microsoft in partnership with OpenAI, creators of the ChatGPT and Dalle-E generative AI models.
Copilot is Microsoft’s answer to Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri, and Amazon’s Alexa. It is a generative AI chatbot that can respond to prompts in human-like natural text and perform other actions on Windows like composing an email, assigning tasks, creating reminders, connecting to WiFi and Bluetooth, and converting Word documents into presentations, among others.
Microsoft’s Copilot AI Assistant will be Available on Compatible PCs and Laptops From Nov 1
Earlier this year, Microsoft entered into a $10 billion strategic partnership with OpenAI that saw the company incorporate the infamous ChatGPT large language model (LLM) into its Bing search engine, even naming it Copilot. At the time, Microsoft said it would bring a variation of the generative AI model to its PC operating system. This brings us to the latest version of Windows 11, also known as 23H2.
On Windows 11, Copilot will have the ability to perform tasks like opening apps, switching between light and dark modes, connecting to WiFi, turning on Bluetooth, and screenshotting. If you use Bing to browse on the Edge browser, the AI assistant will summarize the information contained on the page, helping you search for results much faster.
Copilot, which is housed in the Windows taskbar, can be launched by hitting the Windows+C shortcut on the keyboard. This opens a panel on the right side of the screen where you can start a text conversation with the LLM and it will respond in a human-like voice. The virtual assistant comes as a replacement for Cortona, which was introduced by Microsoft in 2015 with Windows 10 and discontinued in August 2023.
Here is a list of Copilot-powered features that will be available on the latest version of Windows 11:
- Virtual Video Editor
Microsoft has added an auto-compose feature to its built-in video editing app Clipchamp. With Copilot, users can tell how they want the scenes to be put together and it will deliver the final output.
- Screen Reading
Last year, Microsoft unveiled a new accessibility feature called Windows Narrator that uses AI to read texts displayed on screen in a natural-sounding voice. This year, Windows Narrator added support for United Kingdom and Indian English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, and Spanish.
- Paint with words
At the Surface launch event, Microsoft teased the new Copilot-powered Paint app. The long-running drawing app will now allow users to type their preferences in a text box, where they can pick a certain style and give suggestions, and the AI will generate art according to the description provided.
Business and Enterprise Users Get Copilot With the New Microsoft 365 Suite
The most exciting part of Copilot is its integration with Microsoft 365, the company’s subscription service that includes productivity apps like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, the OneDrive cloud service, and other advanced security features.
On Wednesday, Microsoft will debut Copilot to millions of its business and enterprise customers in the United States. Chief information officers across the country have begun training Copilot for use in their respective office products and services. According to estimates, more than a million companies in the US currently using Microsoft 365 will get the update on November 1.
Copilot on Microsoft 365, also known as Microsoft 365 Chatbot, will help employees summarize lengthy emails, draft responses, convert Word documents into PowerPoint presentations, attend meetings on their behalf and take down notes on topics discussed, log in their attendance, and flag any action items.
Those who don’t understand how to use the system can ask Microsoft 365 Chat and the ChatGPT-powered generative AI will scan all applications in their Microsoft suite and scrape the internet to gather relevant information.
For instance, if you come back to work after being absent for a week, you could ask Copilot a question like “What happened with our client last week?” and the LLM will give you a summary of company emails, calendars, documents, and presentations with mentions of the client to help you get up to speed.
To take advantage of all of Microsoft 365 Chatbot’s features, business and enterprise customers will have to pay a subscription fee of $30 per month. The latest version of the Office suite will be rolled out globally starting November 1.
However, Windows Copilot, which is free for all Windows 11 users, is still under preview and will only be available in the US, Canada, United Kingdom, and some parts of Asia and South America.
How to Update Your PC to Windows 11 23H2?
To upgrade your PC to the latest version of Windows OS, go to Settings > Windows Update > Check for Update. If the update is available for your computer it will be shown and you can download and install.
You can also sign up for Microsoft’s “Continous Innovation” program where the company will release new features throughout the year that you can test out, rather than waiting for them to be released following the scheduled annual Surface and Windows event.