Microsoft 365 suite – Microsoft has announced that its 365 productivity suite will be getting a boost from AI. During a recent webcast, the company revealed that Copilot AI, previously introduced to Dynamics 365 CRM and ERP software, will now be available throughout the entire 365 suite. Copilot is a natural-language-based user interface that can use your documents to respond to a user’s queries or requests. Copilot was designed to make workflows in Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, Teams, and Power Platform smoother. The technology is powered by OpenAI’s experimental text-generating GPT-4 family, the same line of tech that caused a stir when it mistakenly declared one of its contributors dead.
Microsoft also unveiled Business Chat, a new tool in its 365 suite that allows users to search indexed files for inclusion in Copilot-generated responses. According to Microsoft, Business Chat will be able to pull information from documents, presentations, emails, calendars, notes, and contacts to help summarise chats, write emails, find key dates, or even write a plan based on other project files. Jared Spataro, Microsoft’s VP of modern work and business applications, said the new features will help people to reconnect with “the soul of our work” by getting rid of drudgery. The new Copilot features are expected to roll out over the coming months.
During the demo, Microsoft showcased the capabilities of Copilot, which is able to generate a PowerPoint presentation from a press release, sort and analyse data in Excel, and even offer a summary of what happened at a meeting that an attendee was late too. The tool is also able to update CRM records in relation to work done in Microsoft 365 apps.
In an effort to pre-empt any questions about licensing issues, Microsoft was keen to stress that Copilot was built “with [Microsoft’s] existing commitments to data security and privacy in the enterprise, grounded in AI principles and Responsible AI Standard and decades of research.” The company also took care to point out that “Copilot’s large language models are not trained on customer content or on individual prompts.” This was a reference to a copyright lawsuit that Microsoft is facing over the original incarnation of Copilot, which was developed to assist programmers on GitHub. The lawsuit alleges that Microsoft trained Copilot on public GitHub repositories, without paying attention to the open-source licenses associated with such data collections.