Microsoft’s clever new Word and Outlook upgrade will end the need to write anymore emails

Microsoft’s clever new Word and Outlook upgrade will end the need to write anymore emails

If you need a head start on an assignment, help drafting an email, writing up meeting notes and more, Microsoft 365 Copilot can do that all for you. That’s because the new platform for Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook and Teams will have some of the most powerful AI technology embedded into it.

You may have heard of ChatGPT, the AI chatbot that has become notorious for knocking out responses to your questions that look remarkably human, replying in great detail to your complex requests in a matter of seconds.

The chatbot sensation made by OpenAI and bought by Microsoft has taken the world by storm and showed the public what can be done with so-called large language models.

But according to Microsoft, an even more powerful version of ChatGPT known as GPT-4, forms part of the brains behind Microsoft Copilot.

This throws up some extraordinarily exciting opportunities for Windows users.

Do you find replying to work emails a chore? Are thousands of unread messages piling up in your inbox? Well thanks to Copilot, you can slash the time you spend deleting emails and responding.

It will be able to summarise email threads and create draft responses with changes to the tone or length of a message.

Are you bored of taking notes of your meetings at work? Well, the software can do this for you.

It has the ability to summarise virtual Microsoft Teams meetings as they happen with its Teams collaboration software.

Do you have a looming presentation and don’t know what to do? Well, Copilot can create a 10-slide PowerPoint presentation based on a Word document. It can also analyse or format Excel data for you.

As Microsoft 365’s head Jared Spataro said, the software “works alongside you, embedded in the apps millions of people use everyday: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, and more”.

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He added: “Copilot is a whole new way of working.”

Dr Andrew Rogoyski from the University of Surrey, Director of Innovation and Partnerships at the Surrey Institute for People-Centred AI hailed Microsoft’s announcement.

He said: “Although people may initially resist the idea of using AI, the ability to do things like summarise long documents and prioritise your email inbox will be an absolute godsend for most people struggling to cope with the ever-increasing volume of information we have to get through every day.

“Writers, copyrighters, screenwriters, and journalists will have to integrate these new tools if they want to match the productivity of their competitors.

“Those in the education sector desperately trying to close the stable door will find the horse has bolted and burned the stable down. There’s no way back from this. AI will be available to every school child and student as a matter of routine, as a matter of right.

“So educators need to rethink how we assess students and how we prove that they’ve acquired the knowledge and skills we expect of them. We’ll also have to start teaching how to use these tools, for example, how to fact-check, how to explore the provenance of sources, and how not to use AI-generated material blindly.”

Satya Nadella, the Chairman and CEO of Microsoft, 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.”

Microsoft is currently testing Copilot “with a small group of customers to get feedback and improve our models as we scale.”

It has not revealed the name of the customers testing the software.

A Microsoft spokesperson said the company “is testing Copilot with 20 customers, including eight in the Fortune 500.”

Published at Fri, 17 Mar 2023 11:23:00 +0000