Microsoft officially announced the launch of Microsoft 365 Copilot, Microsoft 365 Copilot is the next generation of AI productivity technology, based on a large language model, and is now open to some business users.
Copilot is used to assist users in generating documents, emails, presentations and more in Microsoft 365 applications and services, powered by OpenAI’s GPT-4 technology, and appears like an assistant in the sidebar of Microsoft 365 applications, acting as a chatbot that Office users can call on at any time to generate text in documents Copilot can get you ready for meetings, create PowerPoint presentations from Word documents, and even help with features such as pivot tables in Excel.
“It works with you, embedded in the applications that millions of people use every day: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, and more.” Jared Spataro, head of Microsoft 365, said, “Copilot is a whole new way of working.”
Microsoft 365 users will be able to summon Copilot to provide information about upcoming Microsoft Teams meetings, helping them keep up with updates on relevant projects, organizational changes such as recent hires, and even what’s going on with colleagues who have just returned from vacation. copilot can also be summoned in Microsoft’s Office app and Word to draft documents based on other files. Users are then free to edit and adjust the text generated by the AI. Because Copilot is essentially a chatbot, users can even ask it to create a 10-page slide presentation based on a Word document or to analyze or format Excel data.
This means that Excel users can use Copilot to quickly create a SWOT analysis or a data-based pivot table. In Microsoft Teams, the Copilot feature can transcribe meetings, remind you of what you might have missed if you were late to the meeting, and even summarize action items during the meeting.
Copilot in Word
But Spataro also notes that Copilot isn’t always right, “Sometimes Copilot gets it right, sometimes it makes a mistake and gives you an idea that’s not perfect but still gives you a clue.” Spataro said at a Microsoft AI event today.
Copilot will also exist in Outlook, where users can spend less time deleting and replying to emails, and Copilot can summarize email threads and even create draft replies with options to adjust the tone or length of emails.
Copilot can generate a PowerPoint presentation for you
Spataro says, “To build Copilot, we didn’t just connect ChatGPT to Microsoft 365. microsoft 365 Copilot is driven by something we call the Copilot system.” This system combines Microsoft 365 applications such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint with data and intelligence from Microsoft Graph and GPT-4.
Copilot uses grounding to improve the quality of a given prompt. If you have Word create a document based on your data, Copilot sends that prompt to Microsoft Graph to retrieve context and data, then modifies the prompt and sends it to the GPT-4 large language model. The response is then sent to Microsoft Graph for additional grounding, security and compliance checks, and then the response and commands are sent back to the Microsoft 365 application.
Microsoft also plans to introduce a Business Chat feature across Microsoft 365 data and applications. It uses Microsoft Graph2 to integrate documents, presentations, email, notes and contacts into a single chat interface in Microsoft Teams that can generate summaries, schedule overviews and more. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella showed off the new AI Copilot this morning at a special AI productivity event.
Microsoft said it is currently testing its Microsoft 365 Copilot with 20 customers and will expand the preview in the coming months. “We’ll share more information on pricing and details in the coming months.” Microsoft said in a blog post today. It’s unclear when consumers will be able to experience Microsoft 365 Copilot features.
Copilot can create Outlook emails for you.
There are certainly concerns about the speed of this innovation and the accuracy of Microsoft’s AI models, especially when Microsoft 365 users may be using them to process business data in the coming months.
In a blog post today, Spataro said, “We make it clear how the system makes decisions by pointing out limitations, linking to sources, and prompting users to review, verify, and adjust content based on expertise.”
Microsoft recently laid off the Ethics and Society team within its AI organization, which had been working to identify risks associated with Microsoft’s adoption of the OpenAI language model in its software and services. That has some inside and outside Microsoft concerned about the speed of AI-driven software, but Spataro doesn’t share those concerns. “To meet the unmet needs of our customers, we must move quickly and responsibly and learn as we go.” Spataro says. “We’re testing Copilot with a small group of customers to get feedback and improve our model, and we’ll be expanding to more customers soon as we scale up.”