Well, maybe it’s more like a know-it-all intern.
It seems that Microsoft is fully committed to conversational AI. The company recently integrated ChatGPT with Bing, and now, it’s testing an AI “Copilot” that helps you complete work in the Microsoft 365 office suite.
Copilot is an intermediary that sits between your Microsoft 365 apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc) and a natural language model (presumably GPT-4). It allows you to call upon AI functionality without a major learning curve or a secondary app.
At its most basic level, Copilot automates everyday tasks in Microsoft 356. You can ask it to “find the most profitable product” in an Excel spreadsheet, or tell it to “edit my research paper” in Word. Copilot can also write documents or emails, perform data-entry work, provide summaries for your meetings, or enhance your PowerPoint slideshows with graphics and animations.
But the most exciting thing about Copilot is cross-app functionality. Let’s say you want a PowerPoint slideshow based on an essay you wrote in Word—Copilot will get the job done automatically. The AI can also pull data from Outlook and Teams, which may speed up some managerial work within large organizations.
Microsoft describes Copilot as a coworker, which is understandable. Existing AI is extremely hit or miss and requires oversight. This tool can’t completely automate your work, but it could help you increase your productivity or avoid boring tasks (like programming slideshow transitions in PowerPoint).
Copilot is currently being tested by “20 companies,” according to Microsoft. There’s no word on when Copilot will reach the general public. For what it’s worth, Microsoft is rushing this AI stuff out the door, so I wouldn’t be surprised by a release in late 2023 or early 2024.