Standout feature from Windows 10 and Windows 11 outlawed by US House of Representatives

an animated gif that shows some examples of how copilot can be used in microsoft apps

Microsoft's Copilot Pro subscription unlocks its clever AI in almost every part of the Windows and Microsoft Office 365 experience, from Word to Outlook and Excel to image-creation — everything is powered by the latest LLM technology from OpenAI

Aaron Brown

By Aaron Brown

Published: 02/04/2024

- 10:14

Updated: 02/04/2024

- 12:15

Copilot will no longer be available to staffers after ruling from Office of Cybersecurity

  • Microsoft Copilot is the result of a $10bn investment in ChatGPT-maker OpenAI
  • A headline feature in Windows 11, it was retroactively added to Windows 10
  • Copilot Pro is now available in 222 countries worldwide
  • Microsoft offers a one-month free trial before charging £19 a month
  • But Office of Cybersecurity has blocked staff members in Congress using it
  • Microsoft says fix to meet "government security" requirements is coming

One of the flagship new features built into Windows 10 and Windows 11 has been outlawed by the United States House of Representatives. Microsoft Copilot, which is powered by the same generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) found inside ChatGPT, can pen lengthy paragraphs from a single sentence prompt in milliseconds, summarise reams of text, put together recipes and itineraries by pulling from thousands of resources online, help with the tone of an email or social media post, and adjust settings on your Windows PC.

With a £19 subscription, Microsoft Copilot can use its AI smarts inside Office applications too, suggest the right formula for a cell in Excel, design keynote slides in PowerPoint, and dream-up never-before-seen images based on your prompts.

But staff members working on congressional matters for the House of Representatives will no longer be able to make use the ChatGPT-fuelled smarts, Axios has reported. Chief Administrative Officer for the House, Catherine Szpindor told the publication: "The Microsoft Copilot application has been deemed by the Office of Cybersecurity to be a risk to users due to the threat of leaking House data to non-House approved cloud services."

a screenshot of windows 11 with the copilot menu openCopilot can now control system settings like switching Wi-Fi networks, battery modes, and magnifier MICROSOFT PRESS OFFICE

Policymakers have been looking at potential risks in federal agency adoption of artificial intelligence and the adequacy of safeguards to protect individual privacy and ensure fair treatment. Last year, two Democratic and two Republican United States Senators introduced legislation to ban the use of artificial intelligence that creates content falsely depicting candidates in political advertisements to influence federal elections.

"We recognize that government users have higher security requirements for data. That’s why we announced a roadmap of Microsoft AI tools, like Copilot, that meet federal government security and compliance requirements that we intend to deliver later this year,” a spokesperson for Microsoft confirmed following the blanket ban.

US lawmakers are increasingly grappling with emerging technologies, with a ban on immensely-popular social media app TikTok currently making its way through Washington DC due to its Bejing-based parent company.

Copilot is the result of a $10 billion investment from Microsoft into the team at OpenAI, the non-profit initially funded by donations from Elon Musk that launched ChatGPT to critical worldwide acclaim. Last month, Microsoft has expanded the availability of its Copilot Pro subscription to 222 countries worldwide.

To entice new users, Microsoft debuted a one-month free trial to entice new users to its latest innovation.

Copilot Pro is fuelled by Chat GPT-4 Turbo, an improved generative AI model capable of handling written prompts with up to 300 pages of written words and uses 2x - 3x less computational power to crunch through individual requests. The upgraded AI is also aware of world events up until April 2023, which is more recent than the original iteration of ChatGTP, which hadn't acquired knowledge of anything later than September 2021. In other words, GPT-4 Turbo can now provide information on the first series of The Traitors on BBC One ...but not the second.

Microsoft has promised Copilot Pro will be added to the iOS and Android apps for Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Outlook soon. "We’ll extend this benefit to our free mobile apps as well, including the Microsoft 365 app and Outlook for iOS and Android, in the coming months," confirmed Divya Kumar, General Manager of Search and AI Marketing at Microsoft.

The premium subscription, usually £19 per month, also unlocks early access to the latest models from OpenAI and the ability to build your own personalised Copilot GPT. If you want to start using Copilot Pro for free, you'll need to install the Copilot app on iPhone and Android to unlock the free month offer.

Microsoft Copilot is baked into the latest version of Windows and can be summoned by pressing the Windows + C keys on your keyboard. Microsoft will mandate a dedicated Copilot-branded key on all new Windows 11 laptops and desktop PCs later this year — the first shake-up to the layout of Windows keyboards in almost three decades.

The new Copilot key made its debut on the Surface Pro 10 and Surface Laptop 6 for Business introduced by Microsoft last month. It's also widely-tipped to feature on the consumer-focused versions of the same Windows 11 hardware from the firm coming soon.

Copilot can answer general knowledge queries, like a traditional search engine. But it's also capable of summarising entire paragraphs into short bullet points and rewriting your text to change the tone. It can also dream up recipes and itineraries, write interview questions and cover letters, find flights and recommend accommodation, and much more.

Of course, this is all possible with the standalone ChatGPT service too. What separates Copilot is the deep ties into the Windows operating system, enabling the AI to change your Windows theme from light to dark mode, turn on "Do Not Disturb", or add a new Bluetooth device.

Microsoft originally debuted Copilot for enterprise customers, but it broadened out the AI assistant to Windows 11 and Microsoft 365 consumers at the end of last year. Since then, it has placed an enormous marketing effort behind its Copilot system, including a glitzy Super Bowl advert.

Copilot — previously known as Bing Chat — can also write shopping lists, generate recipes based on specific criteria, add images to existing documents, and answer general knowledge questions for you.

The Redmond-based company, valued over $3 trillion, says Copilot "can be your personal trainer, travel agent, and sous chef". AI responses will be faster for those who pay the £19 per month subscription.

Like all large language models (LLMs), Copilot Pro is only as good as the information that it’s assimilated, so it’s possible you’ll come across factual inaccuracies, misunderstandings, or worse of all, complete hallucinations of events or dates due to a glitch in the code.


Paid Copilot Pro subscribers can generate 100 AI-created images every day with DALL-E 3 too. This will conjure a new image based on your input, drawing on images in its knowledge base. For those who want to test some of these AI features, there is a free version of Microsoft Copilot.

It taps into the same GPT-4 Turbo model from OpenAI but, during peak times when Microsoft’s servers are being hammered with millions of requests from users worldwide, free users will have their requests handled by the older GPT 3.5 model.

That means users who aren't paying the monthly fee will be missing out on the latest improvements and most up-to-date knowledge during the busiest times of day. Without a paid subscription, you’ll also be limited to creating 15 AI-generated images every day.

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