“Copilot, make me a presentation!” In Microsoft Office applications, you can use conversational AI to complete tasks in the future.
Artificial intelligence has already made its way into Edge, Bing, and Skype, and other Office applications are now to follow. The so-called co-pilot is intended to help with creating presentations, completing tasks, and keeping track of things. He moves into the Microsoft 365 products and gives them the suffix “Copilot” in the name. Control Excel using natural language? No problem – at least that’s what it looks like in Microsoft’s presentation, which was broadcast live on LinkedIn. We already know such an AI assistant from Github, where the programming aid is also called Copilot, whereby the co also comes from the word code.
Users can now ask the new co-pilot to create PowerPoint slides for them. The copilot generates these itself from a Word document, for example. The AI can also create graphics via text prompts. Since the many functions of PowerPoint do not always appear intuitive to everyone, such input can be very helpful for some people. At the same time, the AI help is reminiscent of the one that Google has just introduced: PaLM (Pathway Language Model) is to move into the workspace services Docs and Slides there, Gmail will also get such AI help, and if you want a deeper connection, can use the PaLM-API, which should be particularly easy to integrate via MakerSuite.
“It’s moving away from the autopilot and towards the copilot,” says Satya Nadella, who also repeats his comparison of the change in handling a computer through AI as one does with the mouse and the keyboard. With the previous autopilot, we wouldn’t have noticed where AI was already in there – for example in suggestions or filters. Now the copilot should serve us directly. In addition to Microsoft 365 Copilot, a Business Chat will also be released. Everything conforms to Microsoft’s usual security standards, explains Jared Spataro, Microsoft vice president for modern work. The copilot is not only based on an integration of ChatGPT, it originates from a combination of the Microsoft 365 apps plus Microsoft’s graph including the users’ own data and a large language model – it is not explicitly stated here which one is involved. Microsoft calls this combination “the Copilot system”. Of course, it should meet the data protection standards, feedback mechanisms are built in as well as protection against jailbreaks.
(Picture: Screenshot presentation Microsoft)
Each application gets its own co-pilot. This can be found at the top right in an extra sidebar – similar to the new Bing in Edge. If you select the button, the conversation window opens in which you can ask for tasks, i.e. enter prompts: From “summarize the content for me” to “analyze this data for me”. What the co-pilot then does in concrete terms is explained in step-by-step instructions. You should also learn how to use Excel right away. It remains to be seen whether a real layman will really come to a conclusion. With some practice in the prompts, it should speed up tasks, that’s Microsoft’s intention.
The Business Chat is a kind of personal assistant that can be reached via Teams or Bing. There you can request information in the chat; for example, before a meeting, a list of participants, a summary of the last conversation, and more. Business Chat can access various sources, such as your own calendar. It is not yet clear when all the functions will be available.