Is Microsoft Copilot a Life-Changing Technology?

Each technology company likes to market itself as a company building a new widget or a service that will be life-changing for its users.  For example, the iPhone changed the way we communicate and became a true “personal computer” for many. While only a few actually live up to the promise, the AI revolution that is dominating 2023 still has the potential to be life-changing.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

microsoft copilot

Credits: Microsoft Illustration: Milica M

This brings us to Microsoft, which announced in mid-March of 2023, on LinkedIn, a new AI-powered assistant for its Office productivity software. It is called Copilot, and it aims to revolutionize the way we work. Will we actually be able to utilize it and benefit from it, or is it simply another marketing gimmick? Let’s dig deeper to understand what MS Copilot is, and whether it is truly life-changing.  

What Is Microsoft Copilot? 

Microsoft Copilot is a potent AI tool that uses large language models (LLMs) to comprehend natural language and produce excellent content, depending on your input. As they can learn from any type of text data, LLMs are trained on billions of words from a variety of sources and domains, including novels, news articles, social media postings, etc. 

Microsoft 365, a network of data that connects your calendar, emails, chats, documents, meetings, and more, is a feature that sets Microsoft Copilot apart from other AI apps. As a result, Microsoft Copilot may modify its recommendations to fit your objectives, circumstances, and preferences. Consider utilizing ChatGPT in conjunction with your corporate data.  

How do I stand to benefit from it? 

If your organization uses Office 365 Business Premium or Enterprise, then Copilot can truly be a game changer. Let’s look at a few examples, keeping in mind the everyday tasks we do in the office. 

Any type of writing assignment, simple or complicated, official or informal, instructive or creative, may be aided with Microsoft Copilot. In all scenarios involving your corporate data, it can help you save time, boost quality, and foster innovation. 

It can help save time by automating or streamlining writing processes that might otherwise take hours to complete. One example demoed during the release is Copilot creating a PowerPoint presentation based on a sales proposal in a Word document. Using Microsoft Copilot means you won’t have to worry about spelling, punctuation, or style flaws. Ensuring that your work is accurate, clear, and coherent, may help you refine it. By utilizing Microsoft Copilot, you may avoid creating dull or generic content. It can assist you in enhancing your writing by helping you come up with fresh concepts, creative word choices, or captivating phrases. 

All of the above mentioned potential use cases are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Copilot. Keep in mind that it’s an ever learning and evolving system, which may, over time, provide additional use cases and enhanced functionalities that we still can’t fathom today.  

Be better  

Microsoft Excel is a tool most of us use, but by its design, it is very esoteric in nature. For those more mathematically inclined, it may make much more sense. Note that Excel is a very complex product that has its own type of “programming” functionalities that let you visualize, analyze and collate data in various ways.  

But what if you could get better at it by simply typing in a query into Excel’s, which would let you become an “Excel person?” Copilot actually aims to do that across all Microsoft tools. You will be able to ask Excel to identify key trends in sales data and make a report for you. Fundamentally, this could change the way we work and how we interact with MS Office 365 tools.  

Writing woes 

Writing as a process is quite complex, since you have to understand the interplay between words and use nuance to project your view across. MS Edge Copilot seems less useful in this role. You may ask it to summarize or write an article for you, from scratch, in a specific voice. If you believe that you will be able to send it further immediately, you are wrong.  

While it can offer different perspectives and ideas, the fact that you have to edit most of what the prompt outputs almost makes it not usable. Again, this is from the point of view of someone who writes for a living. On the other hand, if you are an accountant who is not very good with words, and you’re looking for a quick, uncomplicated summary of particular concepts, then Copilot can help you connect with diverse audiences. However, make sure you double-check the output, as not everything you get will be 100% factually correct.  

This writing extends to Outlook, where you can have the AI assistant write e-mails and send them for you. There is also an integration with Teams, where Copilot comes in the form of an AI chatbot.   

“What is the next milestone on [project]?” was among the list of sample prompts provided by Microsoft. “Risks, have they been identified?” “Please assist me in coming up with a list of possible mitigations.” All of this sounds extremely exciting, but we still have our doubts about Microsoft’s ability to compile and connect all of this data in a meaningful way, in the near future. On the other hand, having this lumped into one place may be a good kick-off point for your work.  

Who is at risk? 

Each time automation advances, there are those who stand to lose the most and those who stand to gain the most. This tool probably won’t help those who choose speed above quality unless it has additional quality control built in. Those who prioritize quality over quantity will consider this to be a blessing. 

A terrible driver and a skilled driver in a more powerful automobile might serve as an example. While a skilled driver will get to their destination more quickly and safely, a bad driver is more likely to crash. This tool will appeal to those who are systematic and diligent.  

The future is now! 

The future is now, at least when it comes to AI tools and 2023. The emergence of generative AI is reshaping the next generation of commercial applications. Users will start to demand AI-powered knowledge from their CRM and ERP apps. Every company sector stands to benefit from 365 Copilot’s newest AI innovations, which will potentially enhance employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, and operational effectiveness. Microsoft’s dedication to responsible AI by design – and framework for the safe deployment of AI technology – is crucial to the strategy as it brings these most recent developments to consumers. 

While Copilot is still not officially available, the rollout to the workforce and society will enable all of us to better understand what Copilot can and cannot do and whether it will change our lives for the better. There is a big chance that the tool won’t be as useful as it has been presented by Microsoft’s CEO during the demo. However, the fact that Microsoft highlighted a profound and ambitious AI-enhanced future, Microsoft Copilot could be just the beginning of AI and cooperative work with humans. 

Dino Kurbegović is a project coordinator and an investor and technology enthusiast with years of experience in managing complex projects. His journey into content writing began in 2014, covering finance, investing, crypto, technology and complex technical topics.