Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Microsoft baking ChatGPT AI into its 365 Office apps



Ever since Microsoft signed a deal with OpenAI to licence its ChatGPT technology its been looking at interesting ways to implement it. The first example was to help with search functions on Bing in chatbot form. Now it is applying the artificial intelligence to a new help function in Microsoft 365.


Copilot is, in many ways, a replacement for the age-old Office assistant Clippy. It applies AI to your work and productivity apps in order to help you complete tasks more quickly and efficiently. It sits embedded in each of the Microsoft 365 apps, such as Word, Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint and Teams, and can be used to automate everyday chores. What’s more, it also uses your own data and learns the type of work you need to produce, so you can just talk to it simply to perform a function.

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For example, you can just ask it to turn a Word document into a PowerPoint presentation, or analyse data from a spreadsheet to give you a simpler, more effective view of the figures.

Microsoft is currently testing Copilot with users across 20 companies but plans to have it roll out to other 365 customers in an extended preview “in the coming months”.

“Today marks the next major step in the evolution of how we interact with computing, which will fundamentally change the way we work and unlock a new wave of productivity growth,” said company chairman and CEO, Satya Nadella.

“With our new Copilot for work, we’re giving people more agency and making technology more accessible through the most universal interface – natural language.”

Previous assistant, Clippy, was retired in 2003 after appearing in Office applications since 1997. Shaped like a paperclip (hence the name), it presented an interactive guide and popped up with hints depending on what task you were working on.

One famous example is that it would occasionally pop up in Word and say, “It looks like you’re writing a letter. Would you like help?”



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