It goes without saying that artificial intelligence technology is rapidly changing the way people do just about everything. Searching for information, checking code for errors, and creating original art is just the beginning. Now, AI is about to change how you use your favorite Microsoft 365 products, as well.
On March 16, 2023, Microsoft announced that they’re developing their very own answer to high-functioning chatbots like OpenAI’s ChatGPT – Microsoft 365 Copilot. Copilot is currently in development with a very small group of test users and will start rolling out to everyone else soon.
But what does all this mean for the future of Microsoft 365 (and the role of AI), and what new features can users of this popular software suite look forward to in the future? Let’s take a close look at everything you’re dying to know.
What Is Microsoft 365 Copilot?
Copilot is an advanced in-program AI assistant powered by OpenAI’s GPT4. It will combine that AI power with key business data in order to streamline the functionality of Microsoft 365 staples like Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Teams, and more.
Those who have been Microsoft Word users for long enough may remember the ever-famous Clippy – the little animated paperclip that used to hang out at the side of documents and guide as needed. Copilot is designed to serve a similar purpose but to a much more advanced degree.
Depending on the product used, Copilot will handle a variety of different tasks. For example, in Word, it can edit text and make suggestions, as well as generate text on demand. Meanwhile, in PowerPoint, a user might leverage Copilot to translate written or spoken commands into visual or organizational elements for presentations.
Copilot will reportedly also be able to take notes, transcribe meetings, compose emails, and manage an entire host of other tasks. Naturally, this will be a game-changer for both Microsoft and the essential nature of its Microsoft 365 product, especially as AI tech becomes a bigger and bigger part of how people manage workflow.
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When Will Copilot Be Live for All Users?
The current test group for Copilot is very small – no larger than twenty people or so – but the rollout to other users will commence once testing is complete. At present, there is no precise date by which this is scheduled to occur. However, Microsoft did say it would happen within the coming months.
There is also no word yet on any fees, licensing information, or other details attached to the upcoming finished Copilot product. However, Microsoft reps have assured users that information is coming soon, too.
What Else Is There to Know About Copilot
Intrigued and want to know more about how Copilot will be changing the game for Microsoft 365 users everywhere? Here’s a breakdown of some of the things we’re most excited about (and think you will be, too).
Introduction of Natural Language
If you’ve used OpenAI’s ChatGPT even a little bit at this point, then you already know how intuitive it is. To be fair, the program isn’t perfect.
However, it’s remarkably adept at responding and interacting in a very humanlike way, making it very user-friendly and easy to get the hang of – exactly why Bing has already integrated it into its newest Bing Chat feature.
As part of Microsoft 365 products like Word, Copilot will make it possible to get things done using simple, natural language. Just prompt it as to what you want, and Copilot will take care of the rest.
Generative AI technology has many limitations, so it’s definitely not a viable substitute for actual human beings. However, it can help creative humans jumpstart their creativity, flesh out ideas, power through creative blocks, and more.
In other words, it gives creators a place to start when they need one and a way to continue through rough patches when they need that. Copilot can do this by analyzing trends, organizing data (including from your meetings and brainstorming sessions), and helping you keep things looking professional.
For many years now, Microsoft’s Office tools have been setting the gold standard in productivity software, making Microsoft 365 a must-have for every business, team, freelancer, and creative out there.
And Copilot promises to make Microsoft 365’s suite of tools even more useful by offering unparalleled access to the vast cache of information, insights, and data that are already out there. The vast majority of professionals using the GitHub version of Copilot have already said it’s made them more productive, more focused, and happier at work, in general.
Copilot is also a closer look at how ChatGPT and similar technologies will likely be used in the future – as productivity tools and helpful virtual assistants, as opposed to as standalone chatbots. It’s just about guaranteed to change how everyone everywhere uses, works with, and thinks about AI.
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