Microsoft updates Word and Excel with OpenAI technology

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Co-pilot technology is based on a type of artificial intelligence software known as large language modeling, or LLM. Researchers have improved LLM’s ability in recent years to become more able to understand and respond to text.

The enterprise tech giant said on Thursday that the new AI features, dubbed Copilot, will be available in some of the company’s most popular business applications, such as Word, PowerPoint and Excel.

The tech industry has been intrigued by the development of generalized artificial intelligence technologies, most notably LLMs that can perform tasks such as creating images based on text prompts and organizing events. Extended conversation with people through chat interface. “Today marks the next major step in evolving the way we interact with computing, which will fundamentally change the way we work and usher in a new wave of productivity growth,” said Mr. Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, said in a press release. “With the new co-pilot for work, we’re giving people more self-determination and making technology more accessible through the most common interface: natural language.”

Microsoft touts Copilot’s features as more powerful than just “OpenAI’s ChatGPT built into Microsoft 365,” the company said in an announcement. The company says the new Copilot feature in Word will give users “first drafts to edit and iterate, saving them hours of writing, research, and editing.”

However, Microsoft added that “Sometimes Copilot will be right, sometimes helpfully wrong,” acknowledging that current LLM technology can give incorrect answers. For example, the company’s recent launch of a new AI-powered aggregator Bing chat sometimes produces answers that contain factually inaccurate information and at times odd dialogue.

Microsoft executives demonstrated some of the capabilities of the Copilot tool on Thursday in an online presentation. Family members can quickly create anniversary plans and create accompanying PowerPoint slides that use images stored from someone’s Microsoft OneDrive storage account for a compelling visual. Business owners can more easily create emails and send business proposals using new tools, Microsoft said.

Jared Spataro, vice president of enterprise applications and modern work at Microsoft, said Copilot can analyze and take action based on all the data from the Microsoft Graph, which stores content like email, meeting files, chats, and calendar notes. This Microsoft Graph data allows Copilot’s underlying big language model to generate more specific and enhanced responses tailored to each individual.

Microsoft didn’t say exactly when the new AI features will be available and what the price will be, saying only that “in the coming months, we’ll be bringing Copilot to all of our productivity apps.” —Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, Viva, Power Platform, and more.

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