Microsoft has revealed an AI “copilot for work” that can write your emails and allow you to catch up on skipped meetings.

The tech giant is bringing the ChatGPT-like assistant to all of its Office apps, including Word, Teams, and Outlook.

A recorded video showed the bot summarising calls, taking notes during meetings, and answering questions about what people had said during them.

More specific requests also included creating PowerPoint presentations based on information in another document, drafting emails for event invites, or analysing large amounts of data in Excel spreadsheets.

Copilot will also exist in a dedicated Teams chat, where users can ask more general work questions, such as to summarise a collection of emails, or start writing a project plan.

“It will transform work as we know it,” said executive Jared Spataro.

The announcements were made at an event introduced by Microsoft chief Satya Nadella.

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‘Mitigations in place’ for if AI goes wrong

Microsoft said the new features would be rolled out to a limited number of customers initially, and acknowledged Copilot would likely make mistakes – as these AI models have proved prone to do.

They are known as large language models, as they are trained on huge amounts of text data and able to understand and produce human-like responses.

But they have been shown to struggle to distinguish between right and wrong, and yet will often respond just as confidently either way.

Microsoft says Copilot has been tested extensively and will be constantly monitored and improved during its rollout.

“When the system gets things wrong, or has biases, or is misused, we have mitigations in place,” insisted the firm’s chief scientist Jamie Teevan.

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Will this chatbot replace humans?

AI arms race hotting up

It comes after Microsoft made a multibillion-dollar investment in ChatGPT’s creator, OpenAI, with its latest GPT-4 model having already been added to the firm’s new-look Bing search engine.

Bing’s chatbot was briefly limited last month after reports that it was providing users with some highly questionable responses and answers, including complaining about negative news coverage about itself.

Earlier this week, rival Google said it would be bringing its own generative AI to workplace apps like Gmail.

The search giant recently revealed its answer to ChatGPT, a bot named Bard.

Investment in AI is also soaring in China, where Google-like search company Baidu last night showed off its own ChatGPT-like assistant called Ernie.

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