Microsoft Announces Copilot Assistive AI Backed by OpenAI Technology

UTC by Tolu Ajiboye · 3 min read
Microsoft Announces Copilot Assistive AI Backed by OpenAI Technology
Photo: Microsoft 365 Blog

Computer software powerhouse Microsoft is launching a ‘Copilot’ feature for its business apps to enhance user experience. 

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) has launched Copilot, an OpenAI-powered AI assistant, to its popular business apps – Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. According to the computer software giant, this assistive artificial intelligence (AI) technology seeks to enhance user experience.

The company explained that Copilot is based on AI software called a large language model (LLM). Microsoft claims that in recent years, LLM has become more capable of comprehending and responding to text and can execute advanced sequences. These include creating images based on written prompts and holding extended conversations with users through chat interfaces.

On Thursday, Microsoft executives demonstrated some of Copilot’s capabilities during an online presentation. The AI’s functionality includes providing information on upcoming Microsoft Teams meetings and updates on related projects. As a chatbot, Copilot is even capable of creating a 10-slide PowerPoint presentation based on a Word document. In addition, the assistive AI tech can also analyze or format data from Excel spreadsheets.

Microsoft’s MSFT shares rose 4% on the Copilot news.

Microsoft Execs Comment on Copilot Feature

Weighing in on the Microsoft Copilot assistive AI development for its business app suite, the company’s chief executive Satya Nadella said:

“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. With our new Copilot for work, we’re giving people more agency and making technology more accessible through the most universal interface — natural language.”

The Copilot is powered by OpenAI’s GPT-4 language technology which the AI research laboratory publicly revealed earlier this week. According to OpenAI, GPT-4, which also powers Microsoft’s new Bing search engine, is more capable than its predecessor, GPT-3.

As a powerful Word feature, Copilot will reportedly save hours in writing, sourcing, and editing time. As Microsoft 365 head Jared Spataro enthused:

“It works alongside you, embedded in the apps millions of people use every day: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, and more. Copilot is a whole new way of working.”

However, Microsoft also pointed out that the AI technology is not infallible. According to the Washington-based tech giant, Copilot could be right sometimes and “usefully” error-prone in other instances. The reason is that its underlying LLM technology can sometimes produce incorrect responses. Nonetheless, at Microsoft’s AI unveiling event yesterday, Spataro noted that Copilot gives users a “head start.”

Testing Phase

Microsoft revealed that it is testing its Copilot initiative with 20 customers and will expand the preview in the coming months. As Spataro put it:

“We’re testing out Copilot with a small group of customers (including 8 in Fortune 500 companies) to get feedback and improve our models as we scale, and we will expand to more soon.”

In a blog post, the multinational tech corporation said it would share more details regarding pricing in due time.

Microsoft’s latest AI initiative comes following the success of OpenAI’s ChatGPT tool, released last November. OpenAI currently enjoys backing from Microsoft.

Artificial Intelligence, Business News, News, Technology News
Related Articles