Microsoft will release Copilot, its “unified” artificial intelligence assistant, for Windows next week, with the tool set to be available across its other products later this year.
Copilot will begin to be released in its early form as part of a free update for Windows 11 from September 26, and will later be expanded to browsers Bing and Edge as well as the Microsoft 365 software suite, the company announced on Thursday.
It will “uniquely incorporate the context and intelligence of the web, your work data and what you are doing in the moment on your PC to provide better assistance – with your privacy and security at the forefront”, the company said.
“We are entering a new era of AI, one that is fundamentally changing how we relate to and benefit from technology,” Microsoft said.
“With the convergence of chat interfaces and large language models you can now ask for what you want in natural language and the technology is smart enough to answer, create it or take action. At Microsoft, we think about this as having a copilot to help navigate any task.”
The next Windows 11 update will give users access to Copilot and offer new AI experiences in apps such as Paint, Photos and Clipchamp.
Meanwhile, Bing will add support for the latest DALL. E 3 model, an image-generating AI tool from OpenAI, and deliver more personalised answers based on a user's search history.
It will also offer a new AI-powered shopping experience and updates to Bing Chat Enterprise, making it more mobile and visual.
Microsoft 365 Copilot will be generally available for enterprise customers on November 1, along with Microsoft 365 Chat, a new AI assistant.
The company also launched new Surface devices featuring the AI offering, including Surface Laptop Go 3, Surface Laptop Studio 2, Surface Go 4 For Business and Surface Hub 3.
They are now available for pre-order, Microsoft said.
AI gained momentum with the introduction of generative AI, which rose to prominence thanks to ChatGPT, the language model-based tool made by OpenAI, which is backed by Microsoft.
Generative AI could add nearly $4.4 trillion annually to the global economy and will transform productivity across sectors with continued investment in the technology, according to a recent study by consultancy McKinsey.
It has “enormous” economic potential and could raise global labour productivity growth by about 1 percentage point per year in the next decade, Goldman Sachs said in a report in July.
However, its sudden rise has raised questions about how data is used in AI models and how the law applies to the output of those models, such as a paragraph of text or a computer-generated image.
Earlier this month, Microsoft committed to legally protect its customers if they are sued for using the company's AI services.