Navigating the Future of AI Assistance: A glimpse into Windows Copilot
It’s safe to say that we’re all experiencing some AI-related fatigue. The market, once a playground of innovation, now resembles a thrift store where one must sift through clutter to find gems. Amidst this saturation, Microsoft is strategically and slowly introducing Windows Copilot, a feature in Windows 11 that promises to redefine our interaction with personal computing. But is it just another tool, or does it offer something genuinely groundbreaking? Let’s explore.
What is Windows Copilot?
Windows Copilot is an AI-powered personal assistant seamlessly integrated into Windows 11. It’s the first PC platform to offer centralised AI assistance, setting it apart from its competitors. With Bing Chat plugins, Copilot allows users to complete tasks without the hassle of navigating through multiple tabs and windows.
Practical Applications: From Mundane to Game-Changing
- Write an email. If you’ve used ChatGPT to help you draft an email, you’ll know how to use Copilot to do the same thing. The main difference between the two is that Copilot is readily available on the side of your screen, so you never have to navigate away to another window.
- Edit a document. Copilot can help you edit a document and make suggestions based on your natural language prompts. In addition to plain old editing, you can also prompt Copilot to leverage its Bing Chat powers and search for relevant content to include in your document.
- Find specific settings on your PC. Not the most exciting feature, but a very handy one! As Windows evolved so did the layout of standard menus. The settings aren’t as easy to find, and some are so superbly hidden that you find yourself combing through each menu option two or three times to find it. With Copilot, you can describe the setting you’re after (or the problem you’re trying to solve) and let it do the heavy lifting.
- Automate your tasks. For those of us in the process efficiency camp, this feature is exciting. Copilot has a feature called Edit with Copilot that allows you to create automation that helps streamline your workflow through quick and easy natural language expressions. You can create a flow by describing what you need through multiple steps of conversation, and Copilot will generate a preview flow within seconds. From there, you can customise the flow further or generate additional variants.
Imagine building a custom workflow by connecting all of your Microsoft apps together for you and your team. No custom software to install, tasks you didn’t ask for and can’t delete, or yet another platform to add to your tech stack.
Localised Web Search. While using Microsoft Edge, Copilot offers the option to limit your search to the tabs you have open. This feature, though initially underappreciated, proved invaluable for focused research, narrowing down results to the most relevant information.
The Pros and Cons: A Preliminary Assessment
- Enhanced productivity. The feature is integrated into Microsoft 365, making it accessible and convenient. This convenience allows for real-time assistance without the need to navigate away from your current window. Copilot sits quietly on the side of your screen, awaiting instructions. It’s also worth noting that, once open, the Copilot side bar stays consistent across your apps, programs and windows.
- Ease of use. If you’re familiar with ChatGPT or any website chatbot, you will find Copilot easy to interact with. Simply type in your prompt, hit Enter, and Copilot will generate an answer.
- Accuracy. Copilot sometimes struggles with context, unlike ChatGPT.
- Screen Real Estate. On smaller screens, Copilot can be visibly distracting as it takes up a significant portion of the display.
Copilot vs. ChatGPT: Apples and Oranges?
Both are artificial intelligence technologies that were developed with the intent of helping you accomplish activities faster and more efficiently. However, there are significant differences between the two.
- ChatGPT is a natural language processing technology that uses machine learning, deep learning, natural language understanding, and natural language generation to answer questions or respond to conversations.
- It is designed to mimic human conversation by understanding your question or comment and responding in an engaging and conversational way.
- Copilot is an AI-powered digital assistant, aiming to provide personalised assistance for a range of activities.
- It combines large language models with your data in Microsoft (calendar, emails, chats, documents, meetings, etc) and the Microsoft 365 apps to create a personalised productivity ecosystem.
As you can see, one will not replace the other and how you use them will depend on what you’re trying to achieve. You might use Copilot to get personalised assistance for a range of tasks such as scheduling meetings, sending emails, and creating documents. You might then use ChatGPT summarise the content of your documents or rely on its natural language processing to ask specific questions or respond to conversations.
Conclusion: The Dawn of a New Era or Just Another Tool?
Windows Copilot arrives at a time when the market for AI tools is both crowded and jaded. But its introduction is far from being just another drop in the ocean. By offering a centralised AI assistant that integrates seamlessly with the Microsoft 365 ecosystem, Copilot has the potential to redefine how we interact with our computers. Its unique features, such as localised web search and workflow automation, indicate a thoughtful approach to solving real-world problems. While it has its limitations, particularly in terms of accuracy and screen real estate, these are early days, and improvements are likely on the horizon.
As we look forward to the full capabilities of this feature, one thing is clear: Copilot is not just another tool; it’s a glimpse into the future of personalised computing. Whether it will revolutionise the way we work or become another feature we forget to use remains to be seen. But for now, it offers a promising blend of convenience and innovation, making it a noteworthy addition to the evolving narrative of AI assistance.