Microsoft will charge you £19 every month to use the latest AI tricks on your Windows PC

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

Microsoft CoPilot brings an AI assistant into almost every part of your experience on Windows, from Word to email, Excel to image-creation, all powered by the technology from OpenAI

Aaron Brown

By Aaron Brown

Published: 31/01/2024

- 18:04

Updated: 01/02/2024

- 08:46

CoPilot Pro unlocks the AI assistant in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook

  • CoPilot Pro brings the latest features from ChatGTP creators OpenAI to your PC
  • It works across several Microsoft Office apps, as well as Windows, Mac, iPad
  • Android and iPhone support is coming soon, Microsoft says
  • CoPilot can generate custom images based on your prompts
  • The AI can summarise 300 pages of text and write documents for you

If you want to access the bleeding-edge of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on your Windows computer, you’ll need to pay for the privilege. Microsoft is charging PC owners £19 per month to unlock its CoPilot Pro service, which is now widely-available in the UK.

CoPilot Pro – a generative AI chatbot and assistant – taps into the latest-generation of AI from the team at OpenAI, the nonprofit behind ChatGTP. Dubbed GPT-4 Turbo, this iteration can handle prompts with up to 300-pages of text and uses between two and three times less computational power to crunch through your requests.

It’s also aware of events up until April 2023, which is much more recent than the original iteration of ChatGTP, which wasn't aware of anything later than September 2021. In other words, GPT-4 Turbo can provide any information on the first series of The Traitors on BBC One, but not the second.

CoPilot Pro works in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook, where the AI can write drafts for you, summarise 300-pages of text, pen emails, build presentations, and crunch Excel data.

These features were already available to enterprise users, but this marks the first time that anyone can leverage the AI to build PowerPoint presentations and summarise large documents.

CoPilot AI can also write shopping lists, generate recipes based on specific criteria, add images to existing documents, and answer general knowledge questions for you. Microsoft says AI responses will be faster for those with the £19 per month subscription.

Of course, 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 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 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 it’ll be missing some of the latest improvements and most up-to-date knowledge.

Without a paid subscription, you’ll also be limited to creating 15 AI-generated images every day.

You can access Copilot Pro and the free version of the service via the CoPilot app on the web, Windows, macOS and iPadOS. On any of these platforms, you can also use CoPilot Pro within certain apps, including Bing, Edge and Start. Support for iOS and Android is coming soon, Microsoft says.

“With today’s announcements, we continue to bring CoPilot to more customers with more options that work for them,” Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s consumer chief marketing officer said.

“Whether you’re looking to get started with CoPilot for free, want to supercharge your CoPilot experience with CoPilot Pro or are an SMB or Enterprise customer looking to increase your productivity in new ways with Copilot for Microsoft 365, there’s a CoPilot experience for everyone.”

Earlier this month, Microsoft confirmed that it was changing the set-up of its Windows keyboards for the first time in nearly 30 years by introducing a dedicated Copilot key – which would launch the assistant whenever pressed – and will begin appearing on new Windows 11 devices later this year.

“As we kick off a new year, we’re thrilled to see people increasingly using and loving Microsoft Copilot for work and life,” Mr Mehdi said. “Our goal is to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more by bringing Copilot, the everyday AI companion, to millions of people around the world.”

Microsoft invested $1 billion into OpenAI in 2019, following up with an eye-watering $10 billion investment last year. So, it's perhaps unsurprising that Redmond-based company is now looking at ways to start recouping some of those costs with a paid subscription for the latest ChatGTP-powered features across its apps and services.

Additional Reporting By Martyn Landi, PA Technology Correspondent

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