Microsoft Copilot app is a stealthy AI launch that you should pay attention to

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The holidays are supposed to be a time of peace, cheer and unplugging from work. But in the ruthless world of Big Tech, there’s no time for rest when there’s a new product to hype.

While we were busy decking halls, baking cookies and arguing with relatives, Microsoft was up to some sneaky business. The tech giant quietly launched its new AI assistant app, Copilot, on Android and iOS, hoping no one would notice amidst the seasonal distractions.

On the surface, Copilot looks a whole lot like Microsoft’s Bing Chat app, which debuted last year to much fanfare. You can chat with the app naturally, ask it questions, get it to draft emails or search the web for you. Standard AI assistant stuff in 2024.

Credit: Microsoft / Screenshot

But under the hood, Copilot is powered by some of the most advanced AI around — we’re talking GPT-3.5 and even the new beefed up GPT-4 in certain modes. This isn’t your grandpa’s chatbot. Copilot can understand context, follow complex conversations, and generate hyper-realistic text and images using tools like DALL-E 3.

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Getting access to GPT-4 usually costs a pretty penny — we’re talking $20/month for us average Joe’s. But Microsoft is letting people chat with one of the most powerful AI systems out there, all for zero dollars.

This is a big deal. With Copilot, anyone with a phone now has an AI assistant as capable as what’s powering über-hyped apps like ChatGPT. And Microsoft just slipped into our stockings without most of us even noticing.

While some may see this quiet launch as Microsoft trying to avoid hype, the company likely just wanted to get Copilot out there without too much fanfare. The holidays seemed like the perfect time to launch something new and let it speak for itself.

But make no mistake — Microsoft knows exactly what it’s doing here. While we were roasting chestnuts, the company was making one of its biggest AI plays yet, putting advanced generative models into millions of hands.

What remains to be seen is whether the public will react similarly when they realize just how powerful Copilot is. Or will the holiday timing allow Microsoft to normalize this level of AI without triggering a backlash?

For now, Copilot is still no ChatGPT killer. It can’t chat conversationally through voice chat like the hip new app from OpenAI. But by sneakily sliding it into app stores when no one was looking, Microsoft has ensured it will be part of the AI assistant race in 2024 and beyond. The AI winter just got a lot more interesting.

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