Microsoft expands 'Copilot' in race with Google to create AI-powered assistant

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Microsoft has unveiled an improved artificial intelligence-powered assistant that can work without direct commands, supporting the work of all company departments, as the tech giant teams up with Google to build AI products for businesses. Increases your hostility.

The world's most valuable listed company said its “Copilot” feature will now be able to serve entire teams within an organization, not just individuals. For example, it can create and assign tasks to specific people and manage group meeting agendas.

Business users will also be able to create custom “agents” that can be configured to perform tasks without waiting for human instructions, the Seattle-based group said. The company said the digital assistant can automatically make suggestions or send replies by reacting to incoming email, or quickly process a customer's order.

The improved capabilities are part of a number of product updates unveiled at Microsoft's annual developer conference that begins Tuesday, with Copilot emerging as a flagship product that the company hopes will make a profit in the future. will earn

Rajesh Jha, executive vice president of experiences and tools at Microsoft, said Copilot has been a “game changer” in “removing the drudgery of work.”

Microsoft took an early lead in developing generative AI products thanks to its $13bn investment in OpenAI, while pushing competing services with the likes of Google and Amazon.

Tuesday's updates come days after Google unveiled a range of AI capabilities that are “multimodal,” with digital agents that can answer questions in video, audio and text. It followed similar product launches and upgrades by companies including Meta and OpenAI.

The announcements are part of a push by tech groups including Google, Apple and OpenAI to create AI-powered smart assistants that can take the initiative to complete tasks for people.

Hardware companies also hope that new AI features will force consumers to replace their older devices. Apple this month launched a new line of iPads powered by its next-generation M4 chips.

On Monday, Microsoft unveiled a new series of AI-enhanced PCs and tablets, challenging Apple's dominance. Some devices made by companies including Dell, HP and Samsung will be equipped with Copilot capabilities that can be asked to “remember” the user's past actions, for example.

As part of Tuesday's announcements, Microsoft said that customers using its AI services will now be able to use OpenAI's latest model, GPT-4o, as well as its family of miniature language models, Phi-3. Including a new multimodal model, Phi-3-Vision

The company also said that a new ability for Microsoft 365 to connect Copilot to a wide range of data sources and applications — such as legal datasets and customer records — is “due to a wider range of input to the smart assistant.” “will allow.

Asked how the more autonomous copilot agents would be policed, Charles Lamana, Microsoft's corporate vice president of business applications and platforms, said users would be able to require that humans approve actions suggested by AI. do, such as allowing people to check AI. Create an email before sending. Users can also review in real time the steps an agent went through to reach a conclusion.

“We're not saying autopilot. We're saying co-pilot for a reason,” Jha said. “We don't think a co-pilot can be independent of human agency.”

The upgraded Copilot tools will be available to business customers in preview later this year.

Investors are eager for proof that the super-expensive technology will deliver healthy profits, and while Microsoft has said its new AI tools have helped boost sales, it has seen Copilot user numbers drop. Not disclosed.

The copilot was “central. [Microsoft’s] In April, Deutsche Bank analysts wrote that the AI ​​narrative” but “the broader adoption curve many people (including us) actually expected a quarter or two earlier, especially among office workers,” less Is.

Video: AI: Blessing or Curse for Humanity? | FT Tech
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