Microsoft 365 Copilot makes Office smart

Microsoft 365 Copilot makes Office smart

Microsoft 365 Copilot makes Office smart

Microsoft did last Thursday what we expected it to do next year by putting a generative AI called Copilot into Microsoft 365. This technology is potentially as important to office productivity as Microsoft Office initially was.

Let’s talk about the Copilot effect this week. Then we’ll end with my product of the week, a new laptop from HP that’s the result of an unusually close collaboration with AMD that gives people like me who don’t have an IT department a better support experience than most. computer stores.

Microsoft 365 copilot: your digital secretary

When I started in the tech industry, secretaries were commonplace. I even shared one for a while, and it was a fantastic experience. Unfortunately, I was lagging behind this audience. It was amazing to have an employee whose job it was to support me and who would complement and support my work.

As products like Office progressed, companies concluded that secretaries were no longer needed, and executives were given tools that were supposed to automate the secretary’s role. They didn’t, however, because those tools weren’t smart.

Automated tools made us more productive but didn’t fix the shortcomings we had the way human assistants could, like writing a good letter, maintaining correspondence, and keeping our inability to manage our temperament a secret (something the media social exploded).

This initial use of generative AI in Copilot, while much smarter than Office without it, will not initially overcome all of our shortcomings, but it will get smarter over time. I believe it will evolve to fully embrace the old role of secretary. But first, it will increase our productivity by turning our ideas and concepts into finished works.

This digital secretary is still young and naive

It should be kept in mind that this technology, already in its 4th generation, is still very young and immature. We cannot depend on it as we would an experienced human helper, which means it is more about productive quantity than quality. We will have to both learn this tool and be aware of its weakness.

Although it is much smarter than Office, it is not as smart as a good human assistant. It can’t pick up the context, it won’t always understand the impact of tone, and it can’t protect you from error.

The tool is not yet a peer, although I expect it to evolve into one. In a way, it’s like a young child who looks at his parents like they’re gods and doesn’t question what those parents say. He does not understand the nuances or perceive that these parents are not perfect.

This tool will not only do what you tell it to do, even if it is not in your best interest, but it will also take the data provided to it, whether factual or fictional, and treat it as the truth. . Therefore, you will need to provide oversight and recognize that it can do things at a speed that could be dangerous.

The warning from Twitter

One of the things that makes Twitter dangerous is that you can see something and react to it without thinking about the implications of your reaction. You see a funny post and repost it without realizing that the post is sexist or racist, and your career is suddenly over.

You get mad and post your feelings about something your CEO did, you misread a post or just poorly worded a reply to a post and, again, your career is over. The speed at which you can present on Twitter makes it one of the biggest dangers to your future.

Copilot is first and foremost a speed tool. If you’re upset, he’ll draft an email that could end your career, so you should use Twitter-like restraint to avoid sending it. One of the benefits of writing something yourself is that it gives you time to think about what you’re doing and maybe rethink it.

I’m not saying the tool is bad, but like any tool that initially focuses more on speed than quality, the risk of acting without thinking increases dramatically. Luckily, for those of us who haven’t lost our jobs over a poorly thought out Tweet (my solution was to stay off Twitter mostly), we know how to pause and think before we act.

Yet, as great as it is (and it’s great!), we have to realize that this new technology may act first, making us regret that action later.

Bring back Microsoft’s Office Clippy Assistant

After reading this header, I can practically hear a bunch of people throwing things at me and shouting “NO!” While Clippy’s concept was good, the technology and execution was admittedly horrible. But as Copilot evolves, it will gain the ability to help you perform certain tasks better because it learns how to perform them best. In other words, even initially, Copilot is massively more useful than Clippy could be.

Where I’m particularly interested in seeing this tool work is with PowerPoint. Most of us, myself included, suck at PowerPoint, which is ironic since my initial success as an executive was creating great looking presentation slides. But over time, I got lazy and started creating slides with a lot of words that didn’t use the visual aspects of this tool properly.

Copilot for PowerPoint takes this textual approach and creates visually appealing slides from it, so I can still be lazy and get much more visually engaging presentations. It fixes the bad practice that many of us have developed over the years and creates a coercion function where we can iterate the content until the slides tell the story we want to tell.

For me, this version of Copilot offers the greatest benefit with the least potential risk. Given my history of demeaning presentation, this could be life changing. This video shows Copilot in action.


This brings up another point which is that this tool allows you to iterate faster. I write as I think, but that means I’m often too wordy and my speed isn’t ideal.

With Copilot, you can quickly iterate through a document, then create multiple drafts, improving them as you go. In fact, I would recommend this approach to improve the quality of the result. I think the people who will benefit the most from Copilot will be those who learn how to best use this tool and iterate to improve the quality of the result.

Although this will reduce production somewhat, it will improve the quality so that the result is much better than it would have otherwise been instead of just being produced faster.

Conclusion: Who is most at risk?

With any advance in automation, there are people at substantial risk and people who will benefit the most from the technology. Those who focus on speed over quality will likely be hurt by this tool at first until more quality assurance is built into it. Others, who favor quality over quantity, will see it as a boon.

An analogy would be a bad versus a good driver in a more powerful car. A bad driver is more likely to die, while a good driver will arrive at their destination faster and arrive safely. This class of tools will improve both good and bad behavior. Disciplined and methodical people will love this tool. Others… not so much.

Like any new technology, looking beyond the hype to see the true benefits and risks of a new tool will lead to a much better outcome. While Copilot is already impressive, its initial focus is more on quantity than quality, which means you’ll need to focus more on quality and learn how to best use this tool before you go wild.

Tech Product of the Week

HP Dragonfly Pro

The Dragonfly line is HP’s premier laptop line, designed to deliver the best experience and highest security of any HP offering.

The latest, the HP Dragonfly Pro, is unique in that it was co-designed with AMD to strike a good balance between light weight, long battery life, and performance. Plus, this product provides the kind of IT support that businesses get, but for small businesses and freelancers like me. In terms of design, it’s a mix of some of the best Windows and Apple design elements.

HP Dragonfly Pro has the oversized touchpad and sleek lines of an Apple product and the more robust finish, touchscreen, ports and computing tools, for example, facial recognition and fingerprint reader, d a Windows product – all wrapped up with industry-leading HP security.

The service offering that comes with the Dragonfly Pro is also unique. Dedicated buttons on the right side of the keyboard provide quick access to laptop features and functions and allow you to launch user-selected applications with a single button – and also contact support. Its support button reminds me of a feature in newer cars where you press a button and are immediately connected to support for help.

HP Dragonfly Pro in Sparkling Black

Dragonfly Pro in Sparkling Black (Image credit: HP)

Another novelty of this laptop is a high performance charger, but it has mixed results. Unlike HP’s older chargers, it has an AC outlet attached to it, and like most chargers of this type, it doesn’t work well on planes and tends to fall off or get hit by the legs depending on the location of these sockets.

The easy fix is ​​a short extension cord that allows you to slide the charger under the seat and remove the weight of the charger from the socket. Definitely use a three-prong extension cord because in older aircraft this mains plug is so worn that any two-prong plug will fall off regardless of its weight. But the Dragonfly Pro has nearly 10 hours of battery life, so you might not need to use the charger on the plane if you charge the laptop before you leave.

I had a chance to try out the support experience, and it was very good, with decent engagement and aggressive tracking, which is unusual for laptop support. You can pay extra for a plan that will even provide a replacement laptop if you break yours.

Retail pricing starts at $1,399 for 16GB of memory and 512GB of storage. For around $150 more, you can double both memory and storage (that’s a bargain, but most of us don’t need that extra capacity).

Oh, another thing. The Dragonfly Pro’s speakers are amazing. I was watching a Netflix show on it in my hotel room, and the sound filled the room with incredible output from a laptop that I could say is best in class. As a result, the HP Dragonfly Pro is my product of the week.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network.


Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.