Microsoft has scheduled a powerful feature to launch within Copilot: Copilot for OneDrive, which will allow you to query and ask about files stored in the Microsoft cloud. It’s a powerful tool, if only because it takes a surprising amount of horsepower to reproduce on a local computer.
Microsoft is planning for Copilot for OneDrive to launch in May 2024 and will require a Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 license, which costs $30 per user per month and is only available to enterprises and schools. There is no information on whether this feature will be available for consumers who subscribe to Copilot Pro, which costs $20 per user per month.
This is an important announcement because it means that Microsoft’s cloud servers will be able to learn the contents of your files, which is actually very difficult. AI consists of two basic functions: machine learning and inferencing. Machine learning is the process of creating relationships. It is extremely resource-intensive. The learning process for a 113-page PDF of the U.S. Code governing the office of the president took close to two hours on a 14th-gen Core HX laptop powered by a GeForce RTX 4090 GPU.
One of the advantages of running an LLM on your PC is that learning your own private documents on your own PC preserves the privacy of those documents. Uploading them to the cloud theoretically allows them to be examined by that cloud provider, and perhaps by law enforcement as well. However, if learning the contents of a document takes that long, it might be worth it to let Microsoft take over.
According to Microsoft’s roadmap, Copilot in OneDrive, which is available on OneDrive for Web, will allow you to ask questions and get information from files in your OneDrive without having to open them. It requires a Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 license. There are no restrictions on the number of files that can be learned. This information was spotted by Neowin on Microsoft’s roadmap.
Once Microsoft’s AI knows the contents of your company’s internal documents, you will be less likely to ever sever your ongoing subscription. It seems almost inevitable that Microsoft will apply that same logic to your own personal information at some point.