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Microsoft’s AI companion, Copilot, is going Turbo. Copilot is graduating from using OpenAI’s GPT-4 model to its GPT-4 Turbo option, the company’s latest and greatest AI tech.

This isn’t a perk reserved for Copilot Pro users either: The free version of Copilot is switching to GPT-4 Turbo. It won’t be turned on by default, however. If you use Copilot in “Balanced” mode, it will still rely on GPT-4. However, switch to “Precise” or “Creative” mode, and you’ll switch into Turbo mode as well.

In practice, using Turbo you may notice a slight improvement in Copilot’s responses to your queries, but GPT-4 Turbo isn’t a substantial update over GPT-4. However OpenAI does say it’s “more capable,” and designed to reduce “laziness” evident with the model.(Recently, users have complained that GPT-4 doesn’t always finish tasks, and refer to the model as “lazy” in those cases.)

In addition, GPT-4 Turbo has an extended context window of up to 128,000 tokens, which means you can send longer prompts the bot will understand. (OpenAI says one token is worth about four words, so in theory, you could prompt GPT-4 Turbo with up to 512,000 words.) Plus, GPT-4 Turbo is trained on a data set that extends up to April 2023, versus GPT-4’s dataset ending September 2021, so it should know more current information when used in offline mode. (Of course, when connected to the internet, GPT-4 Turbo can always scrape the latest information.)

If you pay $20 per month for Copilot Pro, you will now have the option to drop down to GPT-4 whenever you like. For free users, the only way to continue accessing GPT-4 is by using Balanced mode.

This free upgrade makes Copilot an even stronger candidate for your generative AI needs. Microsoft is well positioned here: The company has integrated Copilot into Windows, Microsoft 365, and Edge, in addition to offering a standalone app on Android and iOS. For many people who just want a solid AI companion without having to pay for the privilege, Copilot’s free tier is quite enticing, and matches many of the benefits you’d get by paying $20 per month for OpenAI’s ChatGPT Plus. But I guess when Microsoft is one of your biggest financiers, it all comes out in the wash.

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