Microsoft Unveils AI-Powered Tool Called Copilot: Here's What To Ask It

What can Copilot really do? How will it impact the way you work? Read all about it.

Tech and Auto
3 min read
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(This article is a part of 'AI Told You So', a special series by The Quint that takes a closer look at the possibilities unlocked by Artificial Intelligence in various sectors and walks of life, where the technology stands today, and the challenges ahead.)

After months of Microsoft teasing that its ChatGPT-like AI would be integrated with its Office Suite of apps, we finally got a look at how that would work at the tech giant's virtual event on Thursday, 16 March.

Meet Copilot: It's a new tool that has been designed to combine large language models (like ChatGPT) with business data and Microsoft 365 apps.

  • Copilot will be embedded in Microsoft 365 apps such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, etc

Trial run: Wondering when you can take Copilot for a spin? Well, that's currently not possible.

  • "Microsoft 365 Copilot is being tested with a small group of customers to get the critical feedback required to improve these models as they scale," the company said in a press release

  • Specifics on pricing and licensing will be shared soon, it added

Why it matters: Microsoft's $10 billion bet on ChatGPT-owner Open AI kicked off an AI race that has only intensified since. As major tech players look to integrate the technology with their products, it could rapidly transform user experience.


Zoom in: Alongside Copilot, Microsoft also unveiled another AI feature called Business Chat that can take in all the data from your documents, presentations, email, calendar, notes, and contacts.

  • Based on the data, Business Chat will be able to generate responses to prompts like, "Tell my team how we updated the product strategy."

Of note: Going over the laundry list of Copilot's capabilities, here are a few that caught our eye.

  • The AI-driven tool will be able to reformat your Word file based on previous drafts, with one command

  • Want to convert your 90-page thesis into a 10-slide Powerpoint presentation? Just hit Copilot with a prompt

  • Additionally, it is also capable of animating slides and generating speaker notes

  • Copilot could also become a data geek's best friend as it is able to analyze figures and dish out key trends as well as create data models

  • If a cluttered inbox is your pet peeve, get this: Copilot can "triage" your inbox and summarise email threads

  • In Teams, Copilot can provide "real-time summaries and action items directly in the context of the conversation."

"By grounding in your business content and context, Copilot delivers results that are relevant and actionable. It’s enterprise-ready, built on Microsoft’s comprehensive approach to security, compliance, privacy and responsible AI," said Microsoft's corporate vice president Jared Spataro.

Under the hood: While Microsoft said that its new AI-driven tool is built on "decades of research" and "grounded in AI principles and Responsible AI Standard," how does Copilot actually work?

  • For starters, it appears that there's more than one large language model behind Copilot

  • The tech company also said that Copilot delivers "enterprise-ready AI", meaning that it is not trained on user data or individual prompts


Real talk: Why does Microsoft need this? The tech giant is looking to maintain its competitive edge in the mad dash to corner the AI market – and integrating this emerging technology into its Office Suite of tools is a major step in that direction. But how will it impact the future of work?

  • Open AI CEO Sam Altman believes that artificial intelligence can help do away with menial tasks like emailing.

On the flip side, some anticipate that new tech (like AI) generally results in more work for people – not less.

  • Sociologist Juliet Schor offers an example: Washing machines and dryers allowed laundry to be done more frequently, "adjusting normative standards of cleanliness to meet efficiencies introduced by these appliances."

Meanwhile, Chinese tech company Baidu also rolled out its ChatGPT challenger called Ernie Bot on Thursday. Not to mention, Google's Bard, which will be used to enhance its search engine, is also in the pipeline.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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