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Microsoft’s AI Event Announcements: Microsoft 365 Copilot and Business Chat Bring AI across Productivity Stack

Microsoft’s AI event this week saw the company go all-in on productivity AI with its Microsoft 365 Copilot and Business Chat.

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on Thursday hosted its online “Future of Work with AI” event. As expected, the company brought AI led by OpenAI's and ChatGPT into productivity apps in a big way. Specifically, the Redmond company gave a public demonstration of the new Microsoft 365 .

With Microsoft 365 Copilot, the major Office apps on Microsoft's productivity stack will have natural language AI capabilities. Specifically, Microsoft introduced Word Copilot, Excel Copilot, PowerPoint Copilot, Teams Copilot, and Viva Copilot. There was also an announcement to launch the new , which brings the chatbot into Microsoft 365.

This is another example of Microsoft's all-in approach to AI. Driven by its multi-billion-dollar partnership with OpenAI – which Microsoft now owns 49 percent of – Copilot brings GPT AI to all Microsoft 365 users.

We have already seen how Microsoft has used in Bing Chat and Edge, as well as making it available in Azure OpenAI Service. Now the company is offering productivity users access to the AI in a big way.

Copilot

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was on hand to introduce Microsoft's latest AI push. He says the company has been working “behind the scenes” for years on AI. “We believe this next generation of AI will unlock a new wave of productivity growth,” he says.  

During the demo on Thursday, Microsoft Corporate Vice President Jared Spataro showed Microsoft 365 doing the following tasks:

  • Create a custom document and accompanying PowerPoint slide based on it.
  • Show data in Excel in response to a specific query
  • Offer a summary of a Teams meeting
  • Generate a slide deck on PowerPoint based on personalized information

To leverage the large language models (LLMs) used in ChatGPT, Microsoft 365 Copilot taps into the Microsoft Graph API. The whole system is powered by Microsoft's new Copilot System, which in a blog post Spataro describes as “a sophisticated processing and orchestration engine:”

“Copilot is more than OpenAI's ChatGPT embedded into Microsoft 365. It's a sophisticated processing and orchestration engine working behind the scenes to combine the power of LLMs, including GPT-4, with the Microsoft 365 apps and your business data in the Microsoft Graph — now accessible to everyone through natural language.”

Business Chat

Copilot was not the only item on the agenda at Microsoft's AI work event. The company also unveiled its new Business Chat, which essentially uses similar AI models to Bing Chat but packages itself as an assistant for Microsoft 365 users instead of a specific search tool.

Spataro says Business Chat is a “knowledge navigator” that can be accessed from within Teams, on Bing, or on Microsoft365.com.

“Business Chat works across the LLM, the Microsoft 365 apps, and your data — your calendar, emails, chats, documents, meetings and contacts — to do things you've never been able to do before. You can give it natural language prompts like “Tell my team how we updated the product strategy,” and it will generate a status update based on the morning's meetings, emails and chat threads.” 

Microsoft 365 Copilot is making its debut now, but is available in a very limited private testing for users selected by Microsoft. The company says a wider preview and launch is scheduled for the “months ahead”. That vague launch window is backed by a current lack of pricing/licensing details, which Spataro says will also come soon.

Tip of the day: Need to create an ad-hoc network from your PC? In our tutorial we show you how to easily create a shareable wireless internet connection in Windows as a free WIFI hotspot.

SourceMicrosoft
Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke has been writing about all things tech for more than five years. He is following Microsoft closely to bring you the latest news about Windows, Office, Azure, Skype, HoloLens and all the rest of their products.

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