Microsoft has heated up the AI war by announcing “Microsoft 365 Copilot” to automate various tasks in its Office Suite, that includes Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations and Outlook email.
The Copilot technology is powered by artificial intelligence software known as a large language model (LLM). Microsoft said the product will be open to 20 enterprises for testing; the AI will offer a draft in the applications, speed up content creation and free up workers’ time. It unleashes creativity, unlocks productivity and uplevels skills.
Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, said this next generation of AI will unlock a new wave of productivity growth. “It marks a major step in the evolution of how we interact with computing, which will fundamentally change the way we work. With our new copilot for work, we’re giving people more agency and making technology more accessible through the most universal interface-natural language.”
Jared Spataro, Microsoft corporate vice president of modern work and business applications, said Copilot is able to scan and take actions based on all the data from the Microsoft Graph. He explained that the Microsoft Graph data helps make Copilot’s underlying LLM generate more specific and improved responses tailored to an individual.
“We’re also announcing an entirely new experience “Business Chat”. Business Chat works across the LLM, the Microsoft 365 apps, and your data – your emails, chats, documents, meetings and contacts – to do things you’ve never been able to do before. You can give it natural language prompts like “Tell my team how we updated the product strategy”, and it will generate a status update based on the morning’s meetings, emails and chat threads,” Microsoft said in a blog. “With Copilot, you’re always in control. You decide what to keep, modify or discard. Now, you can be more creative in Word, more analytical in Excel, more expressive in PowerPoint, more productive in Outlook, and more collaborative in Teams.”
Users can jump-start the creative process with Copilot in Word, so they never start with a blank slate again. The product gives users a first draft to edit and iterate on. This saves hours in writing, sourcing and editing time. Users will be in control as the author, they can go ahead with their unique ideas which will prompt Copilot to shorten, rewrite, or give feedback. In PowerPoint, Copilot helps users create beautiful presentations with a simple prompt, adding relevant content from a document they made last week or last year. And in Excel, users can analyze trends and create professional-looking data visualizations in seconds.
The Copilot is being tested with a small group of customers, including eight in the Fortune 500, to get feedback and improve the models. The product gas passed several privacy checks, and has mitigations in place to help if the software gets things wrong or has biases, or is misused.