Clever coders lead the way as Microsoft launches 365 Copilot

Microsoft 365 Copilot hopes to turn the world’s workforce into AI-assisted productivity rockstars, like best computer coders. Just don’t call it Clippy 2.0

Microsoft hopes the autocomplete revolution seen at GitHub will be replicated among non-coder communities following the introduction of Microsoft 365 Copilot across its ubiquitous suite of office productivity apps.

The tech giant launched the new service on Thursday and claims it combines the power of large language models (LLMs) with the Microsoft Graph and Microsoft office apps to provide users with “the most powerful productivity tool on the planet”.

Microsoft 365 Copilot is integrated into Microsoft 365 in two ways. First, it works alongside users, embedded in the Microsoft 365 apps, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, and more. Second, it offers an entirely new experience called Business Chat. Business Chat works across the LLM, the Microsoft 365 apps, and the user's data, such as their calendar, emails, chats, documents, meetings, and contacts. 

The tool can generate real-time status updates based on the morning's meetings, emails, and chat threads, using natural language prompts like “Tell my team how we updated the product strategy.”

In Word, Copilot will jump-start the creative process by providing users with a first draft to edit and iterate on. Copilot in Excel will help users analyse trends and create professional-looking data visualisations in seconds. And in PowerPoint, Copilot will help users create presentations with relevant content.

New wave of productivity growth

“Today marks the next major step in the evolution of how we interact with computing, which will fundamentally change the way we work and unlock a new wave of productivity growth,” says Satya Nadella, Chairman and CEO, Microsoft. “With our new copilot for work, we’re giving people more agency and making technology more accessible through the most universal interface — natural language.”

GitHub Copilot is a cloud-based artificial intelligence tool developed by GitHub and OpenAI which helps users by autocompleting code. GitHub data shows that the new Microsoft 365 Copilot promises to unlock productivity for everyone, says Microsoft’s Jared Spataro, Corporate Vice President, Modern Work & Business Applications. “Among developers who use GitHub Copilot, 88% say they are more productive, 74% say that they can focus on more satisfying work, and 77% say it helps them spend less time searching for information or examples.”

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