This article, Microsoft Build 2023 Part 2,is sharing more of my picks and thoughts Microsoft announced today. Artificial intelligence was of course very prominent, and that was not a surprise. AI is accelerating digitalization and the metaverse faster than ever. It is changing how we work, and this year will be remembered the moment when world changed. When natural language understanding AI broke through into our apps and workplaces.
In these two articles, I share some of my highlights and insights on key announcements, mainly around these main themes: Microsoft Mesh & Teams and Microsoft 365 Copilot & Artificial Intelligence. This portion became a lot more developer / architecture centric than I originally intended. Major news of Build regarding Copilots were how you can extend Copilot with your own data, Copilot plugins and Responsible AI. But there is even more in this article.
Original article covering Mesh, Teams, Copilot, AI and all was a “bit” long so I divided it into these two parts:
- Part 1: Microsoft Mesh and Teams
- Part 2: Copilot and Artificial Intelligence. This article.
I recommend you keep coming back to these article during Build. I will be updating articles as something new emerges. Let’s continue!
- Responsible AI
- WebView2 coming to HoloLens 2 and Xbox
- Artificial Intelligence and Microsoft 365 Copilot taking the Edge
- Extending Microsoft 365 with plugins
- Copilot stack
- Microsoft Syntex
- Training materials and documentation
Another big topic is of course how to ensure that we use AI responsibly. During Build there were announcements on this as well, like Azure AI Content Safety which is a new service that allows businesses to create safer online environments and communities.
Content Safety services can detect hate, violent, sexual, or self-harm content in images and text – across languages. AI Content Safety is being integrated into various products, such as Azure Open AI Service and Machine Learning. This is now in preview. There is also a preview for Responsible AI Dashboard for text and data, so organizations can evaluate large models built with unstructured data, like natural language, during building, training, and evaluation stage. This can help to identify issues and errors with, for example, fairness.
And testing the content safety in Azure OpenAI Studio shows how it will stop the prompt from progressing.
Microsoft Designer and Bing Image Creators will add a cryptographic mark to images, so it will be possible to verify if pictures have been created with AI or not. This was mentioned to be expected in the coming months.
WebView2 coming to HoloLens 2 and Xbox
Who said metaverse is dead? Who believed that? I didn’t and looking at Microsoft’s announcements today I feel sorry for those who went to panic. While the metaverse is more than Microsoft, or any platform, it also requires platforms and enterprises to build it together. And Microsoft is in the game!
Microsoft Edge WebView2 Preview is in HoloLens 2 Insider Preview today, and Xbox will follow. What developers will be able to do with this .. a lot: On HoloLens 2, WebView2 enables developers to display spatially aware, app-integrated, and dynamic web content in 3D applications.
To learn more about WebView2 preview, check this Build content
Artificial Intelligence and Microsoft 365 Copilot taking the Edge
There seems to be a continuous stream of new Copilots coming from Microsoft.
Copilot in PowerBI will enable analysts to create and tailor reports very quickly, generate and edit DAX calculations, create narrative summaries, and ask questions about the data. In natural language. There will be Copilot in the new Microsoft Fabric (coming soon), which is an integrated and simplified experience for all analytics workloads and users on enterprise-grade data foundation. It brings together PowerBI, Data Factory and the next generation of Synapse as a SaaS offering.
Do you know Semantic Kernel? It is an open-source framework for building AI applications. The easiest way to get to know it is by getting open-source Copilot Chat start app, which helps developers to understand how to add conversational interfaces to custom applications. Developers can use the Copilot Chat sample app to get a nice head start with AI custom app development.
Semantic Kernel released a preview version of its VS Code extension, which will provide tooling for creating and editing and debugging AI plugins. The VS Code extension allows developers to write and test AI functions that they can use in their app. Check the breakout session Building AI solutions with Semantic Kernel.
Microsoft 365 Copilot will be coming to Microsoft Edge as well. Natively integrated. Yes, we have that already for consumer needs, but this time we are talking about work context. Just like Copilot Business Chat in Teams, you can use Edge as an interface with actions. One example given was: “Tell my team how we updated the product strategy today,” and Microsoft 365 Copilot will generate a status update based on the morning’s meetings, emails, and chat threads.
On top Microsoft 365 Copilot is getting smarter by following the context where the user is. For example, if you are checking out HR section in the Intranet or have a document open in a tab you can ask questions related to that context. If you remember that earlier, you were able to sign into Microsoft Bing to use Microsoft Search via that to discover work content – this is the next step in that journey.
Check this session at Build: Microsoft Edge: The business browser with innovations in AI, productivity, and management
Of course, in that session I spotted this information:
It implies, that Copilot will has its own license you can add to your account. That part about how plugins will be enable to connect services to Microsoft 356.. oh no! They have a typo! Microsoft 365 Copilot is just pure goodness and opens basically all doors in the organization to leverage Copilot and Artificial Intelligence in applications.
It is making increasing sense to sign into Bing and Microsoft 365.com with your work identity. Of course, if you aren’t signed in you don’t have access to any work data or features. Oh, and Microsoft Edge has a new look too.
I do like that the profile is on the top left corner. But, when you think Teams profile picture and controls are on the top right corner. Perhaps these will align in coming mo..years. 😊
To help with that there will be Microsoft Edge for Business, which has hit preview already. It is Edge dedicated to work experience and there are aesthetics that represent that – for example visual elements, icon, and organization’s name. Edge for Business will have a rich set of enterprise controls, security, and productivity features. The plan is that Edge for Business will be the standard browser experience for organizations.
On personal note, Bing Chat changed it all. How I search for information. Bing Chat made Edge #1 browser. I stopped using Chrome and switched fully to Edge. And I haven’t had a need to switch back. The default search engine for me is also Bing, and unless I know very specifically with keywords what I need to discover I just chat with Bing. On those rare occasions with specific keywords, I do still open Google search to discover the site.
It was good to learn Chat will become the default search experience in Bing. I am welcoming that. Bing and ChatGPT will be working together by bringing Bing to ChatGPT. Discovering information with artificial intelligence made old fashioned search.. well. Old.
It isn’t a big surprise that Windows 11 Copilot was announced. It will bring a new way to manage computer or what you are doing there – like selecting a playlist. With the current application context, just like with Edge and its tabs, it will be possible to use Copilot to get relevant answers.
Use Windows 11 Copilot directly from the desktop sidebar. And you can ask it to do various things that required some jumping around in setting – like turning on the dark or focus mode.
Windows 11 Copilot preview will start to become available in June.
And if you use Windows Terminal – you are getting GitHub Copilot X there.
Extending Microsoft 365 with plugins
There is already a private preview going on, where you can integrate apps and services into Microsoft 365 Copilot with plugins. And even better: there will be a framework for building AI apps and Copilots. On Microsoft Build keynote they mention that it has never been easier. Well, it hasn’t existed before but what they mean is that there will be good tools, frameworks, samples and learning materials when we can get stared with developing.
There are interesting changes in AI Studio compared to AI Studio I was using earlier today. Ability to add data sources to the model directly from AI Studio will make a lot of things easier. Especially when you have Azure Cognitive Search services set up. Stay tuned for more information..
Prompt Flow helps us to put our Prompt Engineering into proper shape. across applications.
Flow Prompt really looks very versatile and extendable. And yes, it is something I want already today.
This is enabling a bit number of possibilities to get more out of Copilot – with connecting it to your own data and systems. And in the process give your employees even more superpowers!
Plugins for Microsoft 365 Copilot will include Bing and ChatGPT plugins but is not limited there – you can also create Teams message extensions and Power Platform connectors. And remember Teams Toolkit I wrote about earlier in this article? You can build these plugins easily with Microsoft Teams Toolkit for Visual Studio Code and Visual Studio. You can extend Copilot by integrating your data into the Microsoft Graph and utilizing Semantic Index.
During the keynote I had to grab the Copilot stack shown.
And there is another picture that outlines AI development framework to help developers build their own copilots. Just add GitHub, Visual Studio and GitHub Copilot to get started. Some sample applications can of course help..
There are already partners building plugins, in fact there are more than 50 plugins available for Early Access Program customers and Microsoft estimates that thousands will be available when Microsoft 365 Copilot is Generally Available.
Don’t miss Build session Shaping the future of work with AI. Or just search for Build sessions that has Copilot in it to get the full list.
Businesses can develop their own artificial intelligence applications using Azure OpenAI Service and it will by default be interoperable with AI Plugins standard. Bing is also adding support for plugins – just think Edge for Business here.
There will also be Syntex plugin for Microsoft 365 Copilot, which will bring new content management skills, along with other Syntex updates. This is the next step for Syntex, and it will enable lot of automation to build documents, automating classification, metadata and much more. Syntex is growing and expanding with the help of AI big time.
Training materials and documentation
Microsoft Learn has been updating with new materials – and the focus has been on Artificial Intelligence. There is a variety of training and documentation content, like self-paced or instructor led trainings, to help to build skills and to understand AI. Materials vary from using Azure OpenAI Service, to adding intelligence to Power Apps or Power Virtual Agents and to GitHub Copilot.
Check these out if you want to learn more
Microsoft Build 2023 gave us an amazing, yes amazing, announcements showcasing the future, the future which we build together already today. Artificial Intelligence is here to stay and change our work and life every day. I have been talking about the Future of Work for quite a long time, and it is great to see how that future is forming into reality today.
And I just let this sink in:
The way we develop applications is accelerating.
If you missed Satya Nadella’s Build 2023 keynote, you can watch it here.
Read more from Microsoft blog about Microsoft 365 Copilot: Your copilot for work. You can join & watch Microsoft Build 2023 sessions on demand at https://build.microsoft.com/en-US/home.
I didn’t cover in these blog posts but a portion of news and announcements in Build 2023. See all the announcements from the Microsoft Build 2023 Book of News.
Thank you for reading!
Pictures and videos are from Microsoft Blog posts, Build sessions or Build streams.
One thought on “Microsoft Build 2023 news, part 2: Copilot and Artificial Intelligence”