Microsoft’s new AI assistant can attend meetings for you

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Following trials, a ChatGPT-style AI assistant created by Microsoft and integrated into its office programs will be accessible to everyone starting on November 1.

For those who choose not to attend meetings held in Teams, Microsoft 365 Copilot can provide a summary.

Additionally, it can quickly make PowerPoint presentations, word docs, spreadsheet graphs, and email draughts.

Microsoft claims it expects the tool to end “drudgery,” but other people are concerned that technology like this could replace workers.

There are also worries that it can cause businesses to become dangerously dependent on AI-powered help.

Due to its current inability to identify instances in which information was not created by humans, it may also violate new regulations controlling AI.

People must be aware when they are communicating with artificial intelligence rather than actual humans, according to both the AI legislation in Europe and the AI rules in China.

Microsoft 365’s Collette Stallbaumer said it was up to the user of Copilot to make that clear.

“It is a tool, and people have a responsibility to use it responsibly,” she stated.

“I might not be telling you when I send you that response, that I used an AI assistant to help me generate it. But the human is always in the mix and always in control.”

The EU asserts that it is the responsibility of the companies who create the AI technologies to guarantee that they are utilized properly.

Prior to the general introduction of Copilot, I was given the opportunity to test it out exclusively.

It makes use of the same technology that powers ChatGPT, developed by OpenAI, a firm in which Microsoft has made significant investments.

The Microsoft employee Derek Snyder’s laptop served as the platform for my demonstration because Copilot is integrated into a user’s account and has access to their own data as well as the data of their organization.

According to Microsoft, the data is securely managed and won’t be employed in tech training.

“You only have access to data that you would otherwise be allowed to see,” said Ms. Stallbaumer. “It respects data policies.”

My initial thoughts about Copilot are that it will be both a helpful tool and a fiercely competitive coworker for individuals who perform office work, particularly in businesses trying to cut costs.

I observed it confidently summarise a lengthy sequence of emails about a fictitious product launch in a matter of seconds.

It then offered a succinct reply. The Chatbot produced a warm response, expressing respect for the ideas put forth and expressing eagerness to be involved in the project – even though none of us had really read any of it. We utilized a straightforward drop-down menu to make that response longer and more casual.

The email could then be edited before being sent, or we could choose to transmit the complete AI-generated version. The email gave no indication that it contained Copilot-generated content.

The application then produced a PowerPoint presentation with numerous slides based on the contents of a Word document in around 43 seconds. If there are any photos embedded in the document, it can use them or search its own royalty-free library. It also wrote a proposed narrative to be read aloud in conjunction with the presentation, which was straightforward yet effective.

Copilot created a convincing PowerPoint slideshow/ MICROSOFT

It didn’t understand my request to add more color to the presentation and referred me to manual PowerPoint options instead.

Finally, we examined a Microsoft Teams meeting.

Copilot pointed up recurring themes and provided summaries of the numerous strands that had permeated the conversation. In the event of a disagreement, it was able to provide the pros and drawbacks that had been discussed in a chart format and, if necessary, sum up what a specific person had stated. Everything took a short while.

It has been programmed not to respond to inquiries concerning participants’ contributions to meetings, such as who made the best (or worst) speeches.

When people discovered that Copilot could save them time and effort, I asked Mr. Snyder if he thought they would actually bother going to meetings.

“A lot of meetings might become webinars,” he joked.

Unless they verbally cue one other, the technology cannot yet distinguish between users who are on Teams but are seated nearby and using the same device.

Copilot will set you back $30 per month, or about £25, in the UK. It is connected to the internet and cannot be used offline.

According to critics, administrative-based employment will undoubtedly be severely disrupted by this type of technology.

At Oxford University’s Institute for Ethics in AI, associate professor Carissa Veliz expressed concern about individuals becoming unduly reliant on such tools.

What happens if the technology fails or is compromised? There might be a problem, or they might implement new rules that you don’t like. What happens if you get so dependent on the system that you believe you cannot function without it any longer? She spoke.

Credits: BBC

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