Just after the recent additions of ChatGPT features that we’ve covered in our recent Microsoft Teams Premium blog article, on March 16 Microsoft has revealed another set of AI features in the Microsoft 365 suite: Copilot. What Microsoft is saying about it: “It combines the power of large language models (LLMs) with your data in the Microsoft Graph and the Microsoft 365 apps to turn your words into the most powerful productivity tool on the planet.”
Micosoft 365 Copilot is based on the same language model as ChatGPT, but is much more than just OpenAI’s chatbot, integrated into Microsoft 365. As a powerful processing and orchestration engine working behind the scenes, it combines the power of big language models like GPT-4 with the business data already available in Microsoft Graph. This advanced engine enables users to access the data in the Microsoft 365 Apps and use it more efficiently using natural language.
Copilot is built on Microsoft’s comprehensive approach to security, compliance and privacy. It’s integrated into Microsoft 365 and automatically inherits all of the organization’s company’s valuable security, compliance, and privacy policies and processes. Two-factor authentication, compliance boundaries, privacy protections, and more make Copilot a trustworthy AI solution.
We know very well data leakage is a concern for our customers, so we’ll elaborate more on that. Microsoft 365 Copilot is designed to protect tenant, group and individual data. Copilot LLMs are not trained on any of the customer’s tenant data or the users’ prompts. Within the tenant, Copilot’s time-tested permission model ensures that data won’t leak across user groups. And on an individual level, Copilot presents only data the user already has access to.
Copilot is designed to learn new skills. For example, with Viva Sales, Copilot can learn how to connect to CRM systems of record to pull customer data — like interaction and order histories — into communications. As Copilot learns about new domains and processes, it will be able to perform even more sophisticated tasks and queries.
Previously, Microsoft Copilot was the codename an AI-powered coding assistant that was developed in collaboration with OpenAI. A tool that is designed to help developers write code more quickly and efficiently. Microsoft 365 Copilot, on its own is designed to fundamentally change the way we work with the most popular Microsoft 365 apps daily, but Microsoft admits it sometimes makes mistakes. Microsoft 365 Copilot will be embedded into the usual suspects Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Teams, but also with Power Apps, Power Automate and the Microsoft Graph API.
What can we expect from Microsoft 365 Copilot?
Microsoft 365 Copilot is created with the single goal of supporting people in their daily work. Copilot uses artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to analyze a user’s daily work patterns and provide suggestions on how they can become more efficient and achieve more with less. Microsoft 365 Copilot is designed to work as a service in the background, allowing users to focus on their work while it handles the more mundane tasks by taking care of the repetitive and time-consuming ones. Copilot will be available to Microsoft 365 users and will be included with the existing subscriptions. There are no official roll-out details at the time of writing this article. Earlier in March Microsoft have announced Dynamics 365 Copilot as the world’s first AI Copilot in both CRM and ERP to bring the next-generation AI to every line of business.
The features of Microsoft 365 Copilot as presented by Microsoft are:
- Briefing about the key points of a Teams meeting and providing recaps for users who join late or miss the whole meeting
- Crafting PowerPoint slides, including images from user prompts
- Authoring emails on your behalf
- Providing insights from long email threads and content in documents
- Summarizing and displaying graphs of data in Microsoft Excel files
Copilot can make suggestions that can be redefined and modified.
It can generate documents that can be seamlessly exchanged between Microsoft 365 apps.
Yes, PowerPoint has had built-in Design Ideas features for a while, but imagine your whole 50-slides presentation being filled in with meaningful content, all that with a touch of an impressive design in a few seconds? That’s what Copilot is here for.
Or you can use Copilot for things like “Add this slide to an existing PowerPoint deck”.
It can even produce speaker’s notes in PowerPoint.
Microsoft Copilot is powered by large language models (LLMs) along with Microsoft Graph.
The integration is not only into the Microsoft 365 Apps, but also Power Automate Flows.
And, finally, Copilot can pull together data from different data sources in Microsoft Teams through the capabilities of Microsoft Graph. The user can then decide what to keep, modify or delete.
Copilot also integrates with Outlook, providing support for managing and responding to emails professionally.
Microsoft 365 Copilot Business Chat will work with the large language models and the Microsoft 365 apps. It will have access to a user’s calendar, email, and other work-related data to understand their work patterns and the service will also consider the user’s work habits, such as when they typically take breaks or when they are most productive. With this information, Copilot Business Chat can provide suggestions on how to optimize a user’s workday, such as rescheduling meetings or prioritizing tasks.
Microsoft 365 Copilot will do much of the mundane work for users, making it easier to do things like gather information, formulate and shape data, and present data well. Features include operations such as scheduling meetings, where Copilot can suggest meeting times based on attendee availability and create a calendar invite. It will be able to manage emails to prioritize emails and provide quick replies based on the context of the email. It can also create professional-looking documents based on customizable templates, use ready-made layouts, and much more. As a result, Microsoft’s stance is that users will save a lot of time in the future and can concentrate on the essentials.
GitHub data shows that Copilot promises to unlock productivity for everyone. Among developers who use GitHub Copilot, 88% say they are more productive, 74% say that they can focus on more satisfying work, and 77% say it helps them spend less time searching for information or examples.
But Copilot doesn’t just supercharge individual productivity. It creates a new knowledge model for every organization — utilizing the massive amounts of data and insights that lies largely unavailable and untapped today. Business Chat works across all the business data and apps to surface the information and insights a user would need from an ocean of data — so knowledge flows freely across the organization, saving your users valuable time searching for answers. Business Chat can be accessed from Microsoft 365.com, Bing and Teams when a user has signed in with their organization account.
OpenAI and Microsoft
OpenAI’s Chat GPT tool has caught the world’s eyes on it through its ability to promptly provide human-like answers to questions, including very complex matters. In January, Microsoft announced a multiyear, multibillion dollar investment in OpenAI to accelerate AI breakthroughs to ensure these benefits are broadly shared with the world. And that’s all in addition to their previous investments in 2019 and 2021.
Microsoft and OpenAI have worked together to:
- Build multiple supercomputing systems powered by Azure, which they use to train all of their models. Microsoft Azure’s unique architecture design has been crucial in delivering best-in-class performance and scale for Open AI training and inference workloads. Microsoft is increasing their investment in these systems to accelerate OpenAI’s independent research and Azure will remain the exclusive cloud provider for all OpenAI workloads across their research, API and products.
- Learn from real-world use—and incorporating those lessons. Scaling that use also ensures AI’s benefits can be distributed broadly. Hence the partnership with Microsoft to deploy the OpenAI technology through their API and the Azure OpenAI Service—enabling enterprise and developers to build on top of GPT, DALL·E, and Codex. They’ve worked together to build OpenAI’s technology into apps like GitHub Copilot and Microsoft Designer.
- In an effort to build and deploy safe AI systems, Microsoft and OpenAI engineers regularly collaborate to review and synthesize shared lessons—and use them to inform iterative updates to their systems, future research, and best practices for use of these powerful AI systems across the industry.
Currently, ChatGPT’s replies may sometimes be wrong or provide completely outdated information. ChatGPT’s model is educated until 2021 and at least in the free version, you cannot rely on real-time data available on the Internet being used.
GPT-3 vs GPT-4
Recently, OpenAI launched GPT4, un updated version of the model which enables ChatGPT.
OpenAI presented GPT-4 as bringing “more advanced reasoning skills” to the table than GPT-3, the current version of the model behind ChatGPT. They still added a disclaimer that it could be wrong sometimes.
GPT-3 is the third generation of the Generative Pre-trained Transformer (GPT) language model developed by OpenAI in which Microsoft already invested billions. With its 175 billion parameters, it is currently the largest AI model in the world. GPT-3 is has a wide range of natural language processing features, including language translation, summarization and question answering.
GPT-4, the new kid on the block, is the fourth generation of the GPT series, and it was released on March 14, 2023. It has way more parameters than its predecessor GPT-3, making it even more powerful. GPT-4 should perform even more complex tasks than GPT-3, including writing essays and articles and creating art and music. It scored very high on exams that are not easy for most humans on the planet such as SAT, LSAT.
|Parameters||175 billion||More than GPT-3|
|Capabilities||Language translation, summarization, question answering||Writing essays and articles, creating art and music|
|Performance||Generate human-like text, struggles with sarcasm and idiomatic expressions||Expected to significantly improve upon GPT-3’s performance|
|Potential Applications||Chatbots, virtual assistants, content generation, research||Creative writing, art, improvement of existing applications|
There are a few competitors out there, developing their own chatbots. The table below summarizes them.
You should not confuse yourselves, this is a significant improvement for generational AI and, more importantly, for the world of the knowledge workers.
Adding the capabilities of ChatGPT to what we now feel as old-as-the-world Word, Excel and PowerPoint applications which millions of people across the world use daily will bring a notable change in the way they perform.
We already see many people using ChatGPT to help them do more at work – to write code, presentations, website content and so forth. Students are doing homework with it and that has raised some universities across the world on alert and they’ve banned the use of it.
Mingling Copilot with Microsoft 365 Apps is a real game-changer. Imagine instead of summarizing that 10-pages report for your client meeting, you just ask Copilot to do it for you in a few seconds while you sip your morning coffee or tea. And why stop there? Do you even need or want to attend that meeting at all? You could just ask Copilot to recap it for you and send you the key points afterwards.
Copilot integrates with Microsoft 365 Apps through Microsoft Graph. If you want to learn more about Graph API development, read our How to Start with Microsoft Graph API guide.
Some GPT features were already added to Microsoft Teams. If you still haven’t decided if Teams Premium is a must for your organization, read What is Microsoft Teams Premium, and what are the benefits?
Planning to use Microsoft Viva, not sure which modules are the right fit for your organization or already trying some of them? Read our comprehensive guide about all the Microsoft Viva Modules.
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