Microsoft adds AI to more of its productivity tools

Published March 16th, 2023 - 08:42 GMT
Microsoft adds AI to Office 365 and more
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ALBAWABA — Microsoft on Thursday announced that it would seamlessly integrate the artificial intelligence that powers OpenAI’s ChatGPT to its iconic Microsoft 365 productivity suite.


Called Microsoft 365 Copilot and using some of OpenAI’s large language model technology it puts ChatGPT-like abilities to work churning out meeting transcripts, calendar entries, generating ideas in Word or PowerPoint slide and summarizing key points during meetings via its Teams business communication platform.


"You could say we've been using AI on autopilot and with this next generation of AI, we are moving from autopilot to copilot," Satya Nadella, Microsoft chairman and chief executive officer, said at a virtual release event.


"Today marks the next major step in the evolution of how we interact with computing, which will fundamentally change the way we work and unlock a new wave of productivity growth," Nadella said on the company’s blog. "With our new copilot for work, we’re giving people more agency and making technology more accessible through the most universal interface — natural language."


The company, which swiftly adopted language-based AI into its Bing search engine and Edge browser, said Copilot will start rolling out to Microsoft 365 apps in the coming months, with pricing and licensing information coming soon.


The new release will function as an assistant for users of Microsoft's popular workplace software and not unilaterally take over office tasks but unleash creativity, unlock productivity and uplevel skills.


"We all want to focus on the 20 percent of our work that really matters, but 80 percent of our time is consumed with busy work that bogs us down. Copilot lightens the load," Microsoft said in a statement, acknowledging that Copilot may also sometimes makes mistakes but can be "usefully wrong".


Copilot will fundamentally change how people work with AI and how AI works with people. As with any new pattern of work, there’s a learning curve — but those who embrace this new way of working will quickly gain an edge, the company said on its blog.


Microsoft invested $10 billion into OpenAI, the company that is building the technology that powers ChatGPT, which on Tuesday released its latest version, GPT-4.


Humans are hard-wired to dream, to create, to innovate. Each of us seeks to do work that gives us purpose — to write a great novel, to make a discovery, to build strong communities, to care for the sick. The urge to connect to the core of our work lives in all of us, a Microsoft blog post said.


But today, we spend too much time consumed by the drudgery of work on tasks that zap our time, creativity and energy. To reconnect to the soul of our work, we don’t just need a better way of doing the same things. We need a whole new way to work, the blog post added.


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