Microsoft's new AI assistant can go to meetings for you

A ChatGPT-style AI assistant, Microsoft 365 Copilot, developed by Microsoft and embedded into its office apps, will become available to all from 1 November, following trials.

Microsoft says it hopes the tool will eliminate “drudgery” but some worry tech like this will replace workers. There are also concerns it could leave businesses dangerously reliant on AI-powered assistance. In its current form, it could also fall foul of new rules governing AI, for failing to make clear when content has not been made by humans.

Zoe Kleinman - Technology editor

My demo was on the laptop of Derek Snyder, a Microsoft member of staff, because Copilot is embedded into an individual’s account, with access to their own - or a company’s own - data.

I watched it confidently summarise in a few seconds, a long chain of emails regarding a fictional product launch. It then suggested a brief response. We used a simple drop-down menu to make that response longer and more casual, and the Chatbot generated a warm reply, expressing admiration for the ideas proposed and declaring excitement at being involved in the project - although none of us had actually read any of it. We could then choose to edit the email before sending it, or select the AI-generated copy and send it in its entirety. There was no hint within the email that it contained content from Copilot.

I then saw the tool generate a multiple-slide Powerpoint presentation in around 43 seconds, based on the contents of a Word document. It can use images embedded within the document, if there are any, or it can search its own royalty-free collection. It created a simple but effective presentation - and it also wrote a suggested narrative to read out alongside it.

Finally, we looked at a Microsoft Teams meeting. Copilot identified themes and offered summaries of various threads which had run through the discussion. It could also summarise what one particular person had said if required, and in the event of a disagreement, it was able to offer, in a chart format, the pros and cons which had been debated. All of this took a few seconds.

Copilot will cost $30 per month (which works out at around £25 in the UK). It is internet-connected and does not work offline.

Blimey … minutes produced in seconds … :exclamation:

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Are people still going to have to attend these meetings? Maybe they can just have their bots talk to each other. :nerd_face:


Maybe any meetings will be superfluous when the bots take over the world … :scream:

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Clearly, MS wants to sell it which is why there are only positive points of its abilities being highlighted in the article. What did they say about the quality of AI’s work? Didn’t it have to be trained in recognising different voices? If it can go to meetings for me, Copilot knows that it’s not only about taking the minutes. Does it also have power of attorney to vote and to make decisions or to even raise new subjects for discussion? Does the “simple presentation” suffice? How reliable is the work done? Only if these questions are answered, can Copilot go to meetings for me otherwise the headline should have been: Copilot can produce a first draft of the minutes of a meeting you attend- after it has been trained and if you revise them afterwards.

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Given the extraordinarily rapid pace in the development of AI, the answer to all questions pertaining to the “skills” is, surely, “not yet but soon” … :scream:

Isn’t that terrifying? :flushed:

Lets get our AI bots to post on here for us, maybe they already are :grin:

We should ask AI how to solve the immigrant crisis and give it free reign…I have visions of Star Wars type storm troopers… might be a step too far…then again :thinking:

Actually having AI take minutes at meetings isn’t a bad idea…I used to hate doing them

Will AI do sexual innuendo at the meetings?