Clippy evolved: New 'Microsoft 365 Copilot' uses AI for text creation

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 2023
Microsoft is bringing more AI into its products by releasing Microsoft 365 Copilot for Word, Excel, and other apps to write text and manage emails.

Microsoft expands AI technology
Microsoft expands AI technology


The company has already integrated AI into its Bing search engine and Edge browser, and is now powering its other apps with large language models. Announced on Thursday, Microsoft 365 Copilot uses business data to leverage intelligent productivity solutions across apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Teams.

  • Copilot in Word writes, edits, summarizes, and creates right alongside people as they work.

  • Copilot in Excel helps unlock insights, identify trends, or create professional-looking data visualizations.

  • Copilot in Outlook can help synthesize and manage the inbox to allow more time to be spent on communicating.

  • Copilot in Teams makes meetings more productive with real-time summaries and action items directly in the context of the conversation.

Copilot will also appear in Microsoft Viva to help enterprise leaders with conversation starters based on sentiments and trending topics, and suggestions as they draft posts with options to add images and adjust the tone.

Microsoft has also announced a new feature called Business Chat. It will let users enter natural language prompts like, "tell my team how we updated the product strategy," and use calendars, emails, chats, documents, meetings, and contacts to generate status updates.

An example of Copilot in Microsoft Word
An example of Copilot in Microsoft Word


"Copilot combines the power of large language models with your data and apps to turn your words into the most powerful productivity tool on the planet," said Jared Spataro, corporate vice president of Modern Work and Business Applications. "By grounding in your business content and context, Copilot delivers results that are relevant and actionable."

The company says that Copilot's language models weren't trained on user content or individual prompts, but it's unclear if Microsoft is using GPT models from OpenAI or its own technology. However, Microsoft expressed support for OpenAI in Office apps in January.

Microsoft also has a similarly-named tool for GitHub called GitHub Copilot. It uses OpenAI technology to suggest code and functions in real-time in a code editor, and the company says that 88% of developers who have used it say they are more productive.

Given that Microsoft recently laid off its ethical AI team, it will be interesting to see how Copilot will abide by the company's "existing commitments to data security and privacy in the enterprise, grounded in AI principles and Responsible AI Standard and decades of research."

However, Microsoft does say Copilot can provide links to sources, note limitations, and prompt users to review, fact-check, and fine-tune content based on the writer's own knowledge and judgement.

The company is currently testing Microsoft 365 Copilot with 20 customers, including eight in Fortune 500 businesses. It will expand the technology to more customers and announce pricing and further details in the coming months.

Additionally, IT admins will receive new controls to help them enable Copilot across their organizations.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    Is it just me...or does this seem like a great way for all kinds of information to be accidentally or not so accidently scooped up from otherwise private/team meetings? 

    How much of the processing happens on a device, vs. being sent to the cloud?

    I can imagine some manager utilizing this and a week later finding all the info that was 'summarized' available in search engines.

    coolfactorDAalsethlolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 9
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 2,268member
     What's happening right now, and how quickly these new features are being rolled out, is scary. The day of sentient computing is coming.

    Just wait until hackers figure out how to utilize this AI/ML stuff. Not if, but when.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 9
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,829member
    Gonna be a lot of instant Fs in high school and University. Teachers will be watching for this, and it will automatically get you booted. Hard Fail, No Appeals. I’ve already seen ads for services that will scan documents and watch for AI. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 9
    dk49dk49 Posts: 269member
    Microsoft has struck gold with gpt and now it wants to use it everywhere. Shrewd but smart. 
  • Reply 5 of 9
    I'd be happy if the spell check in Outlook had at least some sense of context. It's amazing how far off the suggestions are when I make a simple typo (as I often do).
    edited March 2023 watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 9
    michelb76michelb76 Posts: 645member
    DAalseth said:
    Gonna be a lot of instant Fs in high school and University. Teachers will be watching for this, and it will automatically get you booted. Hard Fail, No Appeals. I’ve already seen ads for services that will scan documents and watch for AI. 
    Those systems are the same systems that currently fail on copied essays or shops that were hired to write schoolwork. It's always been a cat-mouse game and that will not change. what hopefully will change is that education will stop focusing on reproducing material and instead focus on understanding, as it should.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 9
    michelb76michelb76 Posts: 645member
    Is it just me...or does this seem like a great way for all kinds of information to be accidentally or not so accidently scooped up from otherwise private/team meetings? 

    How much of the processing happens on a device, vs. being sent to the cloud?

    I can imagine some manager utilizing this and a week later finding all the info that was 'summarized' available in search engines.

    Obviously cloud. This feature is currently locked into enterprise versions of Office. As current Teams chats do not automatically leak into search engines, this also won't.

    It's an amazing addition. Finally having computers work the way we were promised. I can't wait to see what all these AI services evolve into.
  • Reply 8 of 9
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,929member
     What's happening right now, and how quickly these new features are being rolled out, is scary. The day of sentient computing is coming.
    It’s not. These are language modelers, language simulators. They aren’t anything remotely sentient, they just arrange words to make it look like a person arranged them. 

    Realistic-looking mannequins don’t scare you, do they? Same thing. 
    watto_cobrabestkeptsecret
  • Reply 9 of 9
     What's happening right now, and how quickly these new features are being rolled out, is scary. The day of sentient computing is coming.
    I think we hit the Technological Singularity last year and nobody noticed. 

    I don't mean the traditional idea, The traditional idea is that we are progressing steadily as humans do good work to improve our AIs, BUT at some point a computer is a step ahead of a human, and it can improve itself slightly faster than a human could... and then it's more steps ahead, and can improve itself even faster.

    I don't think that has happened. They're not smarter than humans. 

    Instead, for years "human + tools" have been improving our AI in a fairly predictable way, BUT now the "human + AI" took a step ahead. They're using their own AI to double their "human + tool" productivity, the AI acceleration has started.   
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