We can be before a radical change in the operation of tools productivity or end in a complete fiasco. Microsoft has announced that it is working on integrating the GPT-4 language model with the applications of what used to be known as Microsoft Office and since last year is just Microsoft 365.
Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook and Teams will incorporate the capabilities of artificial intelligence of Open AIChatGPT in its latest version with the GPT-4 language model, as has already been done in the Bing search engine and the Edge browser.
Microsoft Copilot combines the capabilities of large language models with what the company calls Microsoft Graph (calendar, emails, chats, documents and user meetings) and the apps from the old office. On one side will be embedded in applications that may offer new options for the user and on the other will appear as a chatbot accessible through the apps chat, as one more contact. The latter is what Microsoft calls Business Chat.
Let’s review what Copilot brings to the Microsoft 365 programs it will be integrated into.
Copilot writes texts, edits and summarizes them for the user. From a prompt, the instruction that the user gives to the AI, it can create a draft on the question using information from the organization in which it is working. You can also add context to existing documents, rewrite sections or an entire document to make it more concise, and make suggestions to strengthen the user’s arguments. Some concrete examples of instructions that may be given to you:
- Write a two-page project proposal based on data from (document) and (spreadsheet).
- Make the third paragraph more concise. Change the tone of the document to make it more informal.
- Create a one-page draft based on your preliminary idea.
Copilot explores and analyzes the data in a document and allows ask natural language questions about your content. Reveal correlations between data, propose what-if scenarios, suggest new formulas based on questions the user asks to help you explore the data without having to change it, identify patterns, and create visualizations. Some examples of prompts for Excel:
- Provides a breakdown of sales by type and channel. Insert a table.
- Projects the impact of (variable change) and generates a graph to help visualize.
- Model how a change in the growth rate of (variable) would affect my gross margin.
Help to transform user ideas and existing written documents into complete presentations with speaker’s notes and sources. You can also start a new presentation from a simple message or outline, summarize long presentations with a click, and ask you with natural language to adjust layouts, reformat text, or sync animations. Examples:
- Create a five-slide presentation based on a Word document and include relevant stock photos.
- Summarize this presentation to three slides.
- Reformat these three bullets into three columns, each with an image.
In the email manager helps prioritize emails in the inbox and summarize long email chains, with many participants, so that the user understands not only what they say but also the different points of view of each one and the issues that need to be resolved. The user can reply to an email with a prompt that Copilot develops into a full email and turn quick notes into professional messages with information from other Microsoft 365 apps, allowing you to adjust the tone. Examples:
- It summarizes the emails I missed while I was away last week. Highlight any important elements.
- Compose a response thanking them and asking for more details on their second and third points; shorten this eraser and make the tone professional.
- Invite everyone to a meeting about new product launches next Thursday at noon. Mention there will be food.
Copilot updates the user on the conversation that has taken place, organizes the key discussion points and lists the actions to be taken so everyone in attendance knows what to do next after a meeting. In Teams chat, the AI answers specific questions and tells the user what they missed in a meeting, without interrupting the meeting. It also helps with common tasks like setting up meeting agendas based on chat history, identifying the right people to take a matter further, and scheduling the next meeting. Examples:
- Summarize what I missed in the meeting. What points have been covered so far? Where do we disagree on this issue?
- Create a table of pros and cons for (topic under discussion). What else should we consider before making a decision?
- What decisions were made and what are the suggested next steps?
This feature makes the chatbot accessible from the application Microsoft 365 chat, in which he appears as one more contact under the name of Copilot. In this way, the user always has it at hand, beyond the possibilities offered by its integration in each of the suite’s programs.
Using the aforementioned Microsoft Graph, Copilot gathers information from multiple sources, including documents, presentations, emails, calendar, notes and contacts, with which it keeps users up to date. Some examples of instructions you may be given:
- Summarize the chats, emails, and documents about the (customer’s) issue that occurred last night.
- What is the next milestone in (project)? Were risks identified? Please help me generate a list of possible mitigations.
- Write a new schedule overview in the style of (filename A) containing the schedule schedule for (filename B) and embed the list of projects in the email from (person).
The risks of generative AI in a company
The move to bring generative AI to the most widely used productivity platform has obvious risks. It is one thing to provide tools for the individual consumer and another for the business environment in which a communication failure or receiving the wrong information can have serious consequences. And, as Microsoft and any other company that is launching AI tools never tires of repeating, these AI tools make mistakes and human review is always recommended.
“Sometimes Copilot will get it right, other times it will be wrong but still useful, giving you an idea that isn’t perfect but gives you something to work from.” Jared Spataro, head of Microsoft 365 in a post on the Microsoft blog. You have not defined the cost that it will have for the user although yes there will beso the Microsoft 365 subscription plans will be modified.
Microsoft and generative artificial intelligence a lot is at stake in this movement and in the coming months we will see the reliability that Copilot demonstrates. At the moment, Microsoft is testing the new functions with a selected group of 20 clients, not individuals but companies and including 8 from the Fortune 500 list, without a defined launch window.