Microsoft is bringing ChatGPT technology to Word, Excel and Outlook | CNN Business
Microsoft on Thursday laid out its plans to bring artificial intelligence to its most recognizable productivity tools, including Outlook, PowerPoint, Excel and Word, promising to change the way millions of people do their work every day.
At an event on Thursday, the company announced that Microsoft 365 users will soon be able to use what the company calls an AI “Copilot,” which will help edit, summarize, create and compare documents. But don’t call it Clippy. The new features, which are based on the same technology that underpins ChatGPT, are much more powerful (and less anthropomorphized) than their wide-eyed, clip-on predecessor.
With the new features, users will be able to transcribe meeting notes during a Skype call, summarize long email threads to quickly draft suggested responses, request to create a specific chart in Excel, and turn a Word document into a presentation PowerPoint in seconds.
Microsoft is also introducing a concept called Business Chat, an agent that basically moves with the user as they work and tries to understand and make sense of their Microsoft 365 data. The agent will know what’s in a user’s email and their calendar for the day, as well as the documents they’ve been working on, the presentations they’ve given, the people they’re meeting with and the chats taking place on their Teams Platform, according to the company. Users can then ask Business Chat to perform tasks such as writing a status report summarizing all documents across platforms for a given project, and then compose an email that could be sent to their team with a update
Microsoft’s announcement comes a month after it brought similar AI-powered features to Bing and amid a renewed arms race in the tech industry to develop and deploy AI tools that can change the way people work, shop and creates Earlier this week, rival Google announced that it will also be incorporating AI into its productivity tools, including Gmail, Sheets and Docs.
The news also comes two days after OpenAI, the company behind Microsoft’s artificial intelligence technology and the creator of ChatGPT, unveiled its next-generation model, GPT-4. The update has wowed many users in early tests and at a company demo with its ability to write lawsuits, pass standardized exams and create a working website from a hand-drawn sketch.
OpenAI said it added more “railroads” to keep conversations on track and has worked to make the tool less biased. But the update and moves by larger tech companies to integrate this technology could add challenging questions about how AI tools can upend professions, enable students to cheat, and change our relationship with technology. Microsoft’s new Bing browser has already been using GPT-4, for better or for worse.
A Microsoft spokesperson said 365 users accessing the new AI tools should be reminded that the technology is a work in progress and that the information will need to be reviewed. Although OpenAI has made great improvements to its latest model, GPT-4 has similar limitations to previous versions. The company said it can still make “simple errors of reasoning” or be “overly gullible in accepting a user’s obvious false statements” and does not fact-check.
Still, Microsoft believes the changes will significantly improve people’s experience at work by making tasks easier and less tedious, freeing them up to be more analytical and creative.