Microsoft Copilot: the AI-enhanced assistant of the 365 suite will not be given

Microsoft has just announced the prices for its Microsoft 365 subscriptions with Copilot, the AI serving as an assistant in the office suite, intended for companies. And it is not given! What about individuals?

Things are coming to fruition for Copilot, the new artificial intelligence assistant – it’s powered by GPT-4 – integrated into Microsoft 365 applications and services (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, etc.) with the aim of to help users generate documents, emails or even presentations! As The Verge reports, the Redmond firm has just revealed its pricing for businesses. Thus, Copilot will be available at a price of 30 dollars per user per month for Microsoft 365 E3, E5, Business Standard and Business Premium customers, or the equivalent of 26.7 euros excluding taxes. A sum that must therefore be added to the 37.70 euros per user and per month for Microsoft 365 E3, to the 59.70 euros for the E5, to the 11.5 euros for the Business Standard and to the 20.60 euros for Business Premium . That’s a hell of a lot! Around 600 corporate customers, including KPMG, Lumen and Emirates NBD, have been able to test out Microsoft 365 Copilot through a paid early access program over the past few months. However, the company has yet to set a release date. It will have to face fierce competition from Google, which also intends to integrate AI everywhere in its Workspace suite (see our article).

Microsoft Copilot: an AI that is revolutionizing Microsoft 365
Last March, Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella said on the company’s blog that Copilot “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.With our new co-pilot for work, we’re giving people more autonomy and making technology more accessible through the most universal interface – natural language. ” So, how does Copilot promise to be a real revolution?

For Jared Spataro, head of Microsoft 365, “Copilot is a whole new way to work.” As reported by The Verge, the assistant is present in the sidebar in the form of a chatbot and allows users to request it to generate text in documents, create PowerPoint presentations based on Word documents, or even give a swipe. inch to use functions like Pivot Tables in Excel. As a reminder, Edge 111 benefits from the same addition, the “Detect” tab having become “Copilot”, a module capable of displaying all the data of a site, proposing similar content and texts using the Bing AI.

One of the most interesting uses of Copilot is its ability to generate a PowerPoint presentation of 10 slides (maximum) from a simple Word document. Just ask him, a bit like you would with a question for ChatGPT, and tell him which document to rely on to take action. Realize: a few words and a click to generate an entire presentation effortlessly! Then all you have to do is make changes. Hopefully, however, the result will be more successful than with Beautiful.ai’s DesignerBot.

Copilot is also showing great promise in the other applications of the Microsoft 365 suite. Thus, in Word, the assistant can draft documents from other files. The AI-generated text can then be freely edited and adapted. It also allows to analyze and format Excel data. Handy for instantly creating a SWOT analysis (a business strategy tool) or pivot table – which is tricky for novices. In Teams, Copilot makes it possible to transcribe meetings, remind the user of elements they might have missed – arriving late for example – or summarize the actions to be taken throughout a meeting. Note that an extension of the assistant is also present in the Teams call interface and in conversations. Finally, in Outlook, it allows you to sort your e-mails more quickly and to create draft replies with buttons to adapt the tone or the length of the message.

Microsoft Copilot: a system with a Business Chat function

Inevitably, with AI, we necessarily fear errors and hallucinations, those moments when they start doing anything. “Sometimes Copilot will be right, other times it will be usefully wrong, giving you an idea that isn’t perfect but still gives you a head start,” Jared Spataro said at his conference in March. So do not take your work at face value and remain suspicious. But as much an error is easily seen in an e-mail, as much it is more delicate with an Excel table with hundreds of rows!

“To create Copilot, we didn’t just connect ChatGPT to Microsoft 365,” explains Jack Spataro. “Microsoft 365 Copilot is powered by what we call the Copilot System. This system combines Microsoft 365 applications such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint with the Microsoft Data and Intelligence Graph and GPT-4.” Simply put, user queries go through the different software and language model to provide the most reliable and complete answers possible.

© Microsoft

The company plans to launch a Business Chat feature that will work across Microsoft 365 data and applications. “It uses the Microsoft Graph to bring together documents, presentations, emails, notes, and contacts unique chat interface in Microsoft Teams that can generate summaries, planning overviews, and more.” This way, Copilot has real-time access to content and context stored in the Microsoft Graph. This means that it generates responses based on the user’s business content – their documents, emails, calendar, chats, meetings, contacts and other data – and combines them with their work context – the meeting. in progress, email exchanges on a subject, chat conversations had a few days before – to “provide precise, relevant and contextual answers.”

Microsoft Copilot: what about data security?

Copilot promises to revolutionize the use we have of the office suite. This represents a considerable saving of time and should give a great helping hand to users who do not have a good command of all the subtleties and functions of Microsoft 365. Note, however, that the announcement from the Redmond firm came just a few days after Google announced similar AI functions for Google Workspace (Gmail, Docs, Sheets…). It’s definitely war between the two digital giants! However, this speed of innovation and the unreliability of its AI models do not fail to raise some concerns, particularly in terms of the security of users’ professional data.

On this point, Microsoft tries to be reassuring. “We clearly explain how the system makes its decisions by indicating limitations, referring to sources, and inviting users to review, verify facts, and adjust content based on their subject matter expertise,” explained Jack Spataro in a blog post, promising that the AI will not be trained on user data. A statement that leaves a little skeptical when we know that the company had dismissed its team dedicated to the ethics of artificial intelligence. Its mission was to identify the risks posed by Microsoft’s adoption of OpenAI language models in its software and services…

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