Microsoft has started integrating generative AI in its products and services. In our previous article, we talked about SharePoint Syntex. In this article, we have a look at its much talked about CoPilot. What is CoPilot? What can it do? What are the benefits of CoPilot? And what are the benefits of Microsoft CoPilot for lawyers? Finally, we look at the availability of CoPilot.
What is CoPilot?
Microsoft Copilot is a new AI assistant that can help you with various tasks across Windows, Microsoft 365, Bing, and Edge. It is an AI-powered productivity tool that uses large language models (LLMs) and integrates your data, e.g., with the Microsoft Graph and Microsoft 365 apps and services. It can answer your questions, generate content, suggest actions, and more. Copilot provides real-time intelligent assistance, enabling users to enhance their creativity, productivity, and skills.
CoPilot is not just one product or service, and that has led to some confusion. Microsoft has made different versions of CoPilot available, depending on your needs and preferences. At present, there are three versions that are most relevant.
First, there is CoPilot in Windows. This is the basic version of CoPilot that comes with Windows 11. You can launch it by clicking on its icon on the taskbar or by pressing the Windows logo key + C. CoPilot in Windows can help you with common tasks such as searching the web, organizing your windows, and adjusting your PC settings. You can also ask CoPilot questions and get relevant answers fast. For example, you can ask “What is the capital of South Africa?” and CoPilot will show you the answer along with a map and a link to learn more. CoPilot in Windows is being rolled out gradually and will be available in both Windows 10 and 11.
Next, there is the Microsoft 365 CoPilot. Let me first point out that there is some inconsistency in the use of the name. If you have Microsoft 365, a version of CoPilot will work alongside popular Microsoft 365 apps such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, and more. But the name is typically used more specifically for the CoPilot version for enterprise users of Microsoft 365. This is the premium version of CoPilot that requires a license for Microsoft 365 E3 or Microsoft 365 E5, and a separate license for Microsoft 365 CoPilot. (Read: you will have to pay extra). You can use the Microsoft 365 CoPilot setup guide in the Microsoft 365 admin centre to assign the required licenses to users. You can use Microsoft 365 CoPilot, e.g., to generate summaries of long documents in Word, create charts from data in Excel, design slides from keywords in PowerPoint, schedule meetings from emails in Outlook, and collaborate with teammates from chats in Teams.
Finally, there is Bing Chat (which was just also renamed to CoPilot): This is an online version of CoPilot that uses Bing as the search engine. You can access Bing Chat by going to bing.com/chat or by clicking on the chat icon on the Bing homepage. “Bing Chat puts the power of AI into your online search”, is how Microsoft puts it.
What can it do?
You can use Bing Chat for various purposes such as travel planning, community organizing, comparison shopping, or anything you search for on the web. You can use Bing Chat, e.g., to find the best deals on flights and hotels, get recommendations for local attractions and restaurants, join or create groups for common interests or causes, compare prices and features of different products or services, or explore any topic you are curious about.
Microsoft 365 Copilot can assist you in creating, editing, and improving your documents, emails, presentations, and more. It can help you write faster, better, and more confidently by generating text, suggesting edits, providing feedback, and offering insights. You can use it to create documents, emails, presentations, reports, blogs, and more. It can suggest content, format, style, and grammar based on your data, the Microsoft Graph, the Microsoft 365 apps, and the web. It can even catch up on email threads by getting a summary of the conversation. It can also answer your questions and provide relevant information from trusted sources.
The latter also applies to Bing Chat and the version of CoPilot that comes with Windows. It is a wide purpose generative AI tool that can answer questions, write texts, program code, etc. It can transcribe meetings and summarize the discussion using simple language. It can generate text and images based on your prompts and topics. It can turn documents into presentations or vice versa.
What are the benefits of CoPilot?
Microsoft identifies several benefits CoPilot offers. It can help you save time and effort by automating tedious tasks and generating content faster. It can assist you in learning new skills and improve your writing by providing feedback and suggestions. It also helps you unleash your creativity and explore new possibilities by offering diverse and relevant ideas.
What are the benefits of Microsoft CoPilot for Lawyers?
More specifically for lawyers, Copilot offers the following benefits. It helps to research legal topics and find relevant information from reliable sources. It assists in drafting contracts, agreements, and other legal documents with accuracy and clarity. And it can help you communicate effectively with clients, colleagues, and judges by using appropriate tone and language.
Availability of CoPilot
There is a lot of uncertainty about the availability of the different versions of CoPilot.
According to Microsoft, Copilot is currently available in the US, the UK, and select countries in Asia and South America. However, due to Europe’s privacy protection laws, Copilot is currently unavailable there. Microsoft aims to expand its availability beyond the initial regions and is in negotiations with the EU.
Let us first have a look at the availability of CoPilot outside of the EU.
Since Microsoft Copilot will be integrated among different Microsoft products, the release dates differ.
- Copilot started rolling out on Windows 11 on September 26 through a Windows 11 update.
- Copilot began rolling out to Bing and Edge about two months ago.
- Microsoft 365 Copilot began rolling out for enterprise customers on November 1 and will roll out to non-enterprise users at a later date. The enterprise version supports several languages, including English, Spanish, Japanese, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, and Chinese Simplified. More languages are planned to be supported over the first half of 2024.
Within the EU
Officially Microsoft 365 CoPilot for enterprise users is not yet available within the EU. However, several enterprise users who have their information hosted on Microsoft Azure servers within Europe have reported that Microsoft 365 CoPilot for enterprise users is available to them.
Copilot in Windows is in limited preview available in Europe, meaning that it is not fully functional and may have some bugs or errors. Copilot for Sales is also available in preview, meaning that it is still under development and may change over time.
Microsoft has stated that it will comply with both the EU and the UK data protection laws and will ensure that its customers can continue to use its services without disruption. Microsoft has also announced that it will offer a new option for its customers in the EU: the EU Data Boundary. This option will allow customers to choose to have their core customer data stored and processed within the EU only by the end of 2022. This option will cover Microsoft 365 CoPilot as well as other online services.
If you are interested in trying out Copilot in Europe, you may be able to bypass the regional restriction by running `microsoft-edge://?ux=copilot&tcp=1&source=taskbar` in the Run Command box. However, this may not work for all users and may violate the Digital Markets Act that disallows market monopoly. And you do so at your own risk.