Microsoft is introducing a new AI-powered feature called Copilot to its popular Office365 suite, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. Inspired by ChatGPT, the technology behind the world’s most talked-about artificial intelligence system, Copilot aims to fundamentally change the way people work. With Copilot, Microsoft promises to free people from the busywork that bogs them down, allowing them to focus on the 20% of their work that really matters. Copilot can summarize meeting discussions, create presentations, draft emails, analyze documents, and provide summaries and graphs of data.
While Copilot is not ChatGPT itself, it is based on the same language-learning model. This AI technology has captured the world’s attention with its ability to quickly provide human-like responses to questions, even very complicated or abstract ones. However, these replies are sometimes inaccurate or provide invented information, a problem that Copilot may also sometimes encounter.
Microsoft acknowledges that Copilot may sometimes be “usefully wrong.” OpenAI recently launched GPT-4, an updated version of the model powering ChatGPT, which has more advanced reasoning skills than its predecessor. However, GPT-4 may still be prone to sharing disinformation.
Putting Copilot into Office365 is a significant milestone for generational AI and, more importantly, for the world of work. Copilot’s integration into the most widely-used work programs in most offices plunks it directly into the daily lives of millions of workers.
This innovation promises to revolutionize the way we work, as it frees up people’s time and makes work easier. For instance, instead of summarizing a long, dull report for a client meeting, a person could ask Copilot to do it in a few seconds. Copilot could even recap the meeting and send notes afterward, reducing the need for someone to attend the meeting in person.
While this technology frees up people’s time, it also raises questions about whether AI will replace some jobs in the future. Currently, many people use ChatGPT to write computer code, speeches, website copy, and even help with homework. But with Copilot’s integration into Office365, it is possible that AI could take over other jobs in the future. Nonetheless, Microsoft maintains that Copilot will help people focus on more meaningful work, ultimately improving productivity and freeing up time for creative and innovative endeavors.
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