Revolutionizing Workflows: Microsoft 365 Unveils New AI 'Co-pilot' Features

Revolutionizing Workflows: Microsoft 365 Unveils New AI 'Co-pilot' Features

Noah Rue 16/03/2023
Revolutionizing Workflows: Microsoft 365 Unveils New AI 'Co-pilot' Features

Microsoft will change the way people work every day by integrating AI into productivity tools such as Outlook, PowerPoint, Excel and Word.


Source: Microsoft

In a major announcement, Microsoft unveiled plans to incorporate AI into its widely used productivity tools, potentially transforming how millions of people work on a daily basis.

During its latest event, the company unveiled the AI "Co-pilot," which will enable Microsoft 365 users to edit, summarize, create and compare documents. Built on the same technology that underpins ChatGPT, the new features developed by Microsoft are far more powerful than Clippy, its paperclip-shaped predecessor.

Users will be able to transcribe meeting notes during a Skype call, summarize long email threads to quickly draft suggested replies, request to create a specific chart in Excel, and turn a Word document into a PowerPoint presentation in seconds. Microsoft is also introducing Business Chat, an agent that will ride along with the user as they work, trying to understand and make sense of their Microsoft 365 data. The agent will know what is in a user's email and on their calendar for the day, as well as the documents they have been working on, the presentations they have been making, the people they are meeting with, and the chats happening on their Teams platform. Users can then ask Business Chat to perform tasks such as writing a status report by summarizing all the documents across platforms on a certain project and drafting an email that could be sent to their team with an update.

Leveraging AI into productivity tools has become an arms race in the tech industry, with both Microsoft and Google bringing AI-powered features to their productivity tools in recent months. Microsoft's announcement came just a month after it brought similar AI-powered features to Bing. Google announced this week that it is also bringing AI to its productivity tools, including Gmail, Sheets, and Docs.


Source: Microsoft

The integration of AI into productivity tools is a game changer as it will enable people to complete tasks easier and more efficiently, freeing them up to be more analytical and creative. For example, AI can help people summarize long email threads and transcribe meeting notes during a Skype call, tasks that were previously tedious and time-consuming. AI can also help people make more informed decisions by providing them with relevant information and insights based on the data they have.

Using AI in daily productivity tools also raises challenging questions around how AI tools can upend professions, enable students to cheat, and shift our relationship with technology. Microsoft's Bing browser has already been using GPT-4, OpenAI's latest model, for better or worse. OpenAI added more "guardrails" to keep conversations on track and worked to make the tool less biased, but the limitations of AI still exist. The company said it can still make "simple reasoning errors" or be "overly gullible in accepting obvious false statements from a user" and does not fact check.

Microsoft has reminded 365 users accessing the new AI tools that the technology is a work in progress, and information will need to be double-checked. Nevertheless, Microsoft believes the changes will significantly improve the experience of people at work by allowing them to complete tasks more efficiently and less tediously, freeing them up to be more analytical and creative.

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Noah Rue

Digital Expert

Noah Rue is a writer, a digital nomad, an ESL teacher, and an all around good dude, if he doesn’t say so himself.


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