Microsoft Introduces 365 Copilot, Their AI Chat Integration for Office

Jared Spataro, “corporate vice president, modern work & business applications”,* on the Microsoft blog:

Copilot is integrated into Microsoft 365 in two ways. 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. Today we’re also announcing an entirely new experience: Business Chat. 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.

With Copilot, you’re always in control. You decide what to keep, modify or discard. Now, you can be more creative in Word, more analytical in Excel, more expressive in PowerPoint, more productive in Outlook and more collaborative in Teams.

Hard to predict how these AI-powered features are going to play out, but it feels like they’re soon going to be table stakes. An accurate, concise, automatically generated summary of a meeting you missed — that feels undeniably useful.

* What a mouthful of a job title. Why not just “vice president, business applications”? “Corporate” seems unnecessary, and “modern” even more so. Is there a VP for out-of-date business applications too? Someone who’s still in charge of updating the DOS versions of Word and Excel?

Thursday, 16 March 2023