Microsoft is using artificial intelligence to help take the drudgery out of the workplace. At its “Future of Work” event, the company revealed an AI-powered Microsoft 365 Copilot which, as suggested by leaks, you can create content in Office apps using text requests. You can ask PowerPoint to create a presentation based on a Word document, for example, and even have it apply animations or styles to all your slides.
Other apps have similar functionality. Word can create a proposal based on data from spreadsheets or change the whole tone of a report. Excel can break down data or predict the effect of a change of variable. Outlook can summarize your emails or draft responses, while Teams can summarize meetings or even weigh the pros and cons of a discussion topic. A new Business Chat tool brings information from multiple applications to discuss project development, customer incidents and planning.
The new technology runs on the same OpenAI GPT-4 model that powers Bing’s enhanced search rolling out to everyone. The technology is more factual, higher performing, and less likely to venture outside of accepted boundaries than the predecessor GPT-3.5 currently powering ChatGPT.
Microsoft is already testing 365 Copilot with 20 commercial customers. He plans to expand access in the “coming months” and will share details of IT administrator controls to help implement the technology. Pricing and other details will be available in the coming months, the company says.
The additions come just days after Google said it would bring generative AI to Gmail and Workspace apps like Docs and Slides. The tools will let you compose and review content, and even automatically generate images and videos for presentations. The feature will only be available to US users in English at the end of March, but it should come to more languages and countries in the future.
The introduction underscores the race between Microsoft and Google to incorporate AI into their products. Microsoft is using AI to claim an advantage in search, video chat, and other common productivity tasks. Meanwhile, Google is treating AI as a defensive tool. Systems like Bard can help you protect your core business of search against ChatGPT and other AI systems that Google reportedly considers threats. However this race ends, it’s safe to assume that AI is becoming a mainstay in the world of work.
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