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The AI-run Microsoft 365 Copilot is supposed to make people work smarter and not harder

Screenshot of Microsoft 365 copilot

As promised, Microsoft has just announced a new AI-driven feature for its productivity apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and others. It's called Microsoft 365 Copilot, and its supposed to make writing and creating content with Microsoft's Office apps easier.

Microsoft says:

It works alongside you, embedded in the Microsoft 365 apps you use every day — Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams and more — to unleash creativity, unlock productivity and uplevel skills.

Microsoft is also introducing Business Chat, a natural language chatbot similar to Bing Chat. The blog post states:

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 says Copilot can do things like create a first draft of a document in Word that the user can edit to fit their writing style. In another blog post, Microsoft goes into more detail on these features in Word:

Copilot can add content to existing documents, summarize text, and rewrite sections or the entire document to make it more concise. You can even get suggested tones—from professional to passionate and casual to thankful—to help you strike the right note. Copilot can also help you improve your writing with suggestions that strengthen your arguments or smooth inconsistencies.

Copilot can also help quickly analyze data in Excel, create PowerPoint presentations, and more, The company also insists that Copilot will be controlled by Microsoft's AI principles and standards:

Our efforts are guided by our AI principles and Responsible AI Standard and build on decades of research on grounding and privacy-preserving machine learning. Microsoft’s work on AI is reviewed for potential harms and mitigations by a multidisciplinary team of researchers, engineers, and policy experts. We use the Azure Content Moderation Stack across our services to monitor and filter harmful content. Technologies like InterpretML and Fairlearn help to detect and correct data bias.

The company is currently testing Microsoft 365 Copilot with 20 unnamed customers and will expand testing to more companies in the months ahead. There's no word on licensing or pricing yet.

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