Its practical applicationgenetic artificial intelligenceit has gone from an abstract and futuristic concept to a concrete reality in a matter of months. Businesses and organizations, large and small, are struggling to understand if and how artificial intelligence can help their people be more productive and efficient. For organizations using Microsoft software, the implementation of artificial intelligence in a business environment is driven by theMicrosoft Copilotplatform.
Enterprise-level companies are also looking for ways that AI can harness the vast amounts of data their organizations generate every day in increasingly productive ways. Many believe that an undertaking of this magnitude can only be achieved through a capable AI platform. Microsoft Copilot, with its integration into Microsoft 365, Azure, Windows and enterprise data streams, is supposed to be the AI that unlocks the creative and productive potential of an organization's people and data.
- What is Microsoft Co-Pilot?
- What are the business benefits of using Microsoft Copilot?
- How does Microsoft plan to integrate Copilot into its apps?
- What are the potential problems and caveats with Microsoft Copilot?
- What are the alternatives to Microsoft Copilot?
- How much does Microsoft Copilot cost?
- Which companies should and shouldn't consider Microsoft Copilot?
- When will Microsoft Copilot be available?
What is Microsoft Co-Pilot?
Microsoft Copilotis a new AI product that combines the power of great language models with internal business data generated by Microsoft Graph and Microsoft 365 applications. Using the power of AI and natural language conversations, users can find better answers to questions and create content from those responses. Copilot was developed atChatGPTplatform and announced as a platform under development atMicrosoft Inspire Conference July 2023.
There are two versions of Copilot: Microsoft 365 Copilot and a more general Microsoft Copilot. It is important to note that Microsoft 365 Copilot differs from the consumer and small business Copilot platform found in Bing Chat or non-business versions of Microsoft 365. These Copilot LLMs are trained on more generalized aggregated data collected over the Internet and therefore they tend to have more widespread effects. Microsoft 365 Copilot will depend on data generated by one specific company and one specific company only.
Microsoft 365 Copilot will rely on internal company-generated data, while Microsoft Copilot, more generally, will use aggregated data sourced from the Internet.
Both versions of Copilot will integrate with Microsoft 365 applications, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Teams. This full Microsoft 365 integration will enable workers in an organization to be more creative and unlock productivity gains and potentially upskill. In addition, Microsoft 365 Copilot will add AI-enabled Business Chat to the productivity suite, which will work with company data such as calendars, emails, conversations, documents, meetings and contacts to help employees communicate better and easier.
What are the business benefits of using Microsoft Copilot?
Assuming Microsoft Copilot works as advertised, an employee could start a project (eg email, presentation, report, data visualization) with an AI-generated first draft. With this foundation, the worker can quickly move on to refining and iterating a second draft and then a final draft, eliminating at least one step in the process. This should make the worker more efficient and productive and could enable the development of new skills.
For Microsoft 365 Copilot, the key to these productivity gains will be applying business-specific data to the new project from the ground up. Using data generated internally by the company from emails, documents, calendars, contacts, etc., the project will likely start with limited and, most importantly, relevant assets.
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For example, if a Ford employee creates a presentation that needs to show movement, the AI (if properly trained) should use a Ford-related product, not a similar product from one of its competitors. An AI trained on data pulled from the Internet may come to a different conclusion and defeat the purpose of applying genetic AI to specific businesses.
How does Microsoft plan to integrate Copilot into its apps?
Copilot will be built into the hardware of all Microsoft 365 apps. When an employee starts a Word document, reads an email in Outlook, opens an Excel report, or refreshes a PowerPoint presentation, Copilot and its AI creation capabilities will be there to help you help when needed.
Details of how each Microsoft 365 app will use Copilot are still being developed, and many use cases will likely only be discovered when users actually use the platform. However, Microsoft has described some of themKey concepts for Copilot in a business environment..
Here are examples of commands a user might give to Microsoft Copilot.
Copilot in Word
- Write a two-page project proposal based on data gathered from a Word document (ie, the one you're currently working on or the one you identify by name) and an Excel spreadsheet.
- Make the third paragraph of the current document more concise and change the tone of the document to be more informal.
- Create a one-page draft based on this rough outline.
Copilot in Excel
- Break down this sales data by type and channel, then insert a table.
- Project the impact of a variable change on this data, then create a graph to help you visualize it.
- Model how a change in the growth rate of a variable will affect my gross profit margin.
Copilot in PowerPoint
- Create a five-slide presentation based on this Word document and include relevant stock photos.
- Consolidate this presentation into a three-slide summary.
- Reshape these three dots (in a specific PowerPoint presentation) into three columns, each with an image.
Copilot in Outlook
- Summarize the emails you missed while you were out of the office last week and review any important items.
- Draft a response thanking the senders of an email and asking for more details on your second and third points.
- Shorten a draft email and make the tone more professional.
- Enjoy lunch everyone and learn about new product launches next Thursday at noon. Please mention that lunch is provided.
Copilot in business conversation
- Summarize conversations, emails and documents related to the topic being discussed.
- What is the next project milestone? What risks were identified? Brainstorm a list of possible mitigations.
- Write a new planning overview in the style of this document (specified as existing) that contains the schedule from a different document and embeds the list of projects in this person's email (specifying a username).
What are the potential problems and caveats with Microsoft Copilot?
All AI platforms are only as good as they are trained. If Microsoft Copilot relies on data that is incomplete, biased, incorrect, or otherwise corrupted, the recommendations it generates, regardless of who asks, will be incomplete, biased, incorrect, or otherwise corrupted. The old adage that garbage equals garbage still holds true.
For Microsoft 365 Copilot, training will be especially important because all data used for this AI Copilot platform will be generated and collected internally. Companies looking to get AI right should carefully monitor the data Copilot can access. For example, a company may not want the exchange of document ideas and meeting notes to be part of the data flow. Rejected ideas can pollute the data flow and spread throughout the organization.
For general releases of Microsoft Copilot, organizations and users should be aware that inherent biases, fashions, biases, and other transient events are likely to affect some of the AI-generated results. Not all Internet fiction should appear in the organization's official documents.
Adding to this potential issue, especially for Microsoft 365 Copilot deployments, is the tendency for some departments to isolate their data behind firewalls. New products and services developed under confidentiality agreements, for example, will often fall outside the organization's normal data flow. Businesses will have to decide whether hiding data from AI in such cases is more beneficial than allowing AI access.
The biggest caveat to Microsoft Copilot is that the platform is still under development. The use cases described by Microsoft at the Inspire 2023 conference are the company's visions of how the platform will work. Once Copilot is released to the public, it will reveal what the AI platform can do, for better or worse. Until then, we'll be dealing with possible marketing and perhaps some wishful thinking.
What are the alternatives to Microsoft Copilot?
Generative AI is arguably the hottest trend in tech innovation for 2023, so it makes sense that there are many new and growing AI platforms ready to compete with Microsoft Copilot.
Although Copilot is based on ChatGPT, the AI chatbot is available as a standalone platform and should therefore be considered a competitor. AI is already built-inBorde de Microsoftin the form of Bing Chat, and recently launched an AI forGoogle and Chrome search engine. Tech experts have reported that Apple is developing its own AI platform. It seems that AI will be integrated into almost every digital application we use on a computing device.
Major tech companies inclSales force, Oracle and Adobe are working on artificial intelligence platforms. There are also dozens of smaller independent developers working on their own versions of an AI platform. Additionally, there is a plethora of AI competitors working on specialized platforms that will connect LLMs and AI genetic principles to specific applications. Companies are likely to spend a lot of time exploring the potential of AI platforms.
How much does Microsoft Copilot cost?
As revealed during the Inspire 2023 conference, Microsoft 365 Copilot will cost $30 per user per month. At first glance, this price seems expensive, but it is vital to remember that this version of the platform is designed for large companies. For a large company with thousands of employees, and assuming the platform lives up to what Microsoft promises, that $30 could end up being a deal. This is a big assumption to make at this early point in development.
The consumer and SMB versions of Microsoft Copilot will likely be priced lower than the enterprise version.Chat de Bing, which is also based on ChatGPT, is available now and free as an integral part of Microsoft Edge. It is also possible that some features of the limited or modified version of Copilot will be available to SMEs that are too small to have significant internally generated data to train the AI platform.
Pricing for all versions of Microsoft Copilot is subject to change as development of the platform continues. With so many competitors in the AI platform space, it seems almost certain that the cost of these services will change significantly.
Which companies should and shouldn't consider Microsoft Copilot?
At $30/user/month, only some large companies will be able to afford to have a large number of employee subscribers on the Microsoft 365 Copilot platform. In addition to the subscription, these employers will also have to bear the additional costs associated with generating, collecting and collecting accurate and useful data for AI and LLM education. This is a major undertaking and the decision to implement the Copilot platform will require significant commitment.
Large companies will have to decide if the productivity benefits of using the Microsoft 365 Copilot platform outweigh the initial cost of developing and maintaining the platform, and then pay for it indefinitely.
For individuals and small businesses with little or no LLM-ready data, consumer versions of Microsoft Copilot are available for free. Bing Chat is now available in Microsoft Edge for everyone. Some type of low-cost or no-cost version of Copilot may be available for some versions of Microsoft 365.
Only time will tell if Copilot's AI production capabilities are worth the time it takes to use them.
When will Microsoft Copilot be available?
As of August 2023, Microsoft Copilot is in a test development phase. A limited number of organizations and Microsoft Insiders are testing the AI and providing feedback on what works and what doesn't.
There is currently no official release date announced for any version of Microsoft Copilot.
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