Microsoft announced the Copilot assistant based on artificial intelligence OpenAI GPT -4, which will become part of the Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Teams office programs. This use of AI should help create entire documents, e-mails, and presentations based on the knowledge gained by the assistant while scanning corporate files and listening to conference calls.
The technology will debut in the coming months, and Microsoft is already testing it with 20 companies, including eight Fortune 500 companies that it has yet to name.
Copilot will work alongside Microsoft 365 applications as an assistant, appearing in the sidebar as a chatbot, allowing Office users to summon it to create text in documents, PowerPoint presentations based on Word documents, or even help with such features, as summary tables in Excel.
“It works alongside you, embedded in the apps millions of people use every day: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, and more,” said Microsoft 365 head Jared Spataro. “Copilot is a whole new way of working.”
Microsoft 365 users will be able to summon Copilot to get information about an upcoming meeting in Microsoft Teams, prepare people for new projects, and organizational changes such as recent hires, and even news about colleagues who may have returned from vacation.
Copilot can also be summoned from all Microsoft Office programs and used in Word to create project documents based on other files. AI-generated text can be freely edited and adapted. Since Copilot is essentially a chatbot, users will even be able to ask it to create a 10-slide PowerPoint presentation based on a Word document or analyze or format Excel data.
That means Excel users can use Copilot to instantly create a SWOT analysis or a PivotTable based on data. In Microsoft Teams, the Copilot feature can transcribe meetings, remind you of things you might have missed if you joined late, or even summarize action items throughout a meeting.
However, Spataro was quick to point out that Copilot will not be immune to mistakes.
“Sometimes Copilot will get it right, other times it will be usefully wrong, giving you an idea that’s not perfect but still gives you a head start,” said Spataro during Microsoft’s AI event today.
Copilot will also exist in Outlook, so you can spend less time deleting emails and responding. Email threads can be summarized, and Copilot can even create draft responses with toggles to adapt the tone or length of an email.