At Microsoft Build 2023, AI is on stage as a co-pilot. Here is the answer to Google
Google calls, Microsoft answers. And viceversa. For months, the two American giants have been mutually relaunching a challenge that has as its object, in perspective, the dominance in the field of artificial intelligence. After the binge of I/O news, it is now the turn of the Redmond house to speak to the developers on the occasion of Build 2023, which is also back in presence in Seattle and made accessible in streaming on the official channels of the company (here the dedicated site and the blog with a roundup of announcements). The opening of the convention, as per protocol, was the turn of the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, who described the entry into the scene of AI models based on Large Language Models as a "Mosaic moment" comparable to the arrival of the first browser Graphic Web, recalling how the launch of ChatGpt last November represented an epochal leap forward for the world of computing ("we have passed from the bicycle to the steam engine", his exact words) and reiterating how OpenAI will begin to use Bing as default search engine for ChatGpt.
The advantages for those who write code
The leitmotif that is characterizing the three days of Build 2023 presentations is as broadly imaginable as focused on the new era of AI and in this sense Microsoft has formalized a technological roadmap, validated by the testimonies of companies such as General Motors, which in fact promises developers the availability of tools to write code faster, reducing the time it takes to create a developer box from two weeks to minutes. In this regard, Nadella used very strong expressions to underline the importance of these innovations - "the man-computer symbiosis is something exciting" - and confirmed once again how the technology that powers the ChatGpt-4 model will be progressively integrated in all Microsoft applications. At the basis of the whole strategy there are essentially two components: co-pilots and plugins. The first refers to the new generation of virtual assistants (somehow evoked in recent days also by Bill Gates) which over the next few months will enrich the dowry of products such as Dynamics 365 and Microsoft 365, Power BI and Power Pages, Fabric (the new unified data analytics platform that includes various features linked to a single repository called OneLake), the Edge browser and the Windows operating system; the latter are instead the tools that will expand the capabilities of the various co-drivers and that will allow them to interact more and more with other software and services. All, of course, in the name of maximum interoperability between the two worlds, that of Microsoft apps and that of OpenAI technologies.
The Copilot ecosystem
The assurance that the Redmond managers have given to the community of developers present at Build 2023 is substantially the possibility of integrating (through plugins) the data and codes of the respective apps in Microsoft 365 Copilot and to expand the user experience of services based on the 'generative artificial intelligence, offering end consumers the ability to interact with their applications using conversational language. When fully operational, Microsoft 365 Copilot will host thousands of partner plugins (including those from Adobe, ServiceNow, Thomson Reuters, Moveworks and Mural) and, as confirmed at the event, it will also be natively integrated into the Edge browser. To facilitate the work of developers, the company will adopt the same open standard introduced by OpenAI for ChatGpt, creating a single shared platform to create, test and distribute plugins that will work in both consumer and business environments. Citing a practical case, Microsoft cited the example of a developer at a large company who needs to give Copilot access to customer and supplier agreements to ask questions about how certain legal issues have been handled. To achieve the goal, it will be sufficient to connect the Microsoft 365 Copilot with the confidential database of the files of interest with the only requirement that these documents have been encoded, indexed and archived so that they can be searched. The philosophy that inspires the role of "co-pilots", in a nutshell, is to make this advanced information processing system reusable, which exploits the intelligence of large linguistic models, and to establish limits for its use. Microsoft, in other words, believes it can give developers everything they need to start building their own copilot, looking at a scenario (expected for the next few years) in which this model will become common practice for the functioning of any software
Bing inside ChatGPT: the new frontier of research
As we have already said previously, it is official that ChatGpt will make use of the capabilities of Bing: the OpenAI chatbot will therefore be able to exploit the search engine to have more sources to draw on to generate information in responses to user questions, the all fully integrated into the typical chat interface. The new Bing will be available immediately for Premium users (the roll-out has already started) while the release for standard users should arrive, according to the vague indications provided by Microsoft, in a short time. To access the service, simply enable the Bing plugin on ChatGpt and in the coming months there will be several plugins available for the engine, including those of Expedia, Kayak, Klarna and others. The benefit for end users? For example, plan a trip by simply chatting with the travel platform's virtual assistant or be assisted by the advice and suggestions provided by the AI when it comes to completing an online purchase supported by the installment payment service.
How Edge and Windows change
Like other "core" applications, the Edge browser will also natively integrate Microsoft 365 Copilot and this will allow users to ask the assistant to generate summaries and analyzes of the web page (or document) displayed on the display, project updates to be shared with your work team and more. Therefore, Windows will also benefit from the support of the Copilots, for which Microsoft immediately claimed the pride of being the first platform for personal computers to centralize assistance guided by AI. Thanks to Windows Copilot, available in preview in June for version 11 of the operating system, users will find “Bing-GPT” on the taskbar, a new configuration of the Microsoft Store with the introduction of AI Hub and the availability of tools to generate a summary of the reviews of each app and each game on the list. Finally, other structural innovations for Windows are on the launch pad and specifically concern an indicator of the presence of a VPN network directly on the taskbar, the expansion of the widget panel and support for transcriptions in various new languages, including Italian, while from June the "badges" will arrive on Start which will indicate to the user any actions to be taken to secure (on One Drive) their files.