Microsoft is 'turning everyone into a prompt engineer' with new Copilot AI features – The Verge

By Tom Warren, a senior editor covering all things Microsoft, PC, and tech. He founded WinRumors, a site dedicated to Microsoft news, before joining The Verge in 2012.
Microsoft is attempting to solve the problem of coming up with a good prompt for generative AI, aiming to turn everyone into a prompt engineer. In the coming months Copilot for Microsoft 365, the paid service that adds an AI assistant to Office apps, will be updated with a new auto-complete feature that offers suggestions to improve AI prompts.
If you start creating a prompt then Copilot will soon offer to complete it with extra details to improve the end result of whatever you’re generating or the questions you’re asking. So if you start typing “summarize” then Copilot will display options to summarize the last 10 unread emails in your inbox, or other tasks that are related to your Office data.
Microsoft is also working on a new “elaborate your prompt” feature in Copilot for Microsoft 365 that will essentially rewrite any prompts you create. This should help for times when you want Copilot to take an action on a file, but you’re not entirely sure what level of detail will help get the most out of a prompt.
“With its new rewrite feature, Copilot turns a basic prompt into a rich one with the click of a button, turning everyone into a prompt engineer,” says Jared Spataro, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of AI at work, in a blog post. Copilot for Microsoft 365 will also soon include a new “Catch Up” chat interface that highlights upcoming meetings and surfaces documents and other relevant information that will help you prepare for the meeting.
Microsoft will also let Copilot for Microsoft 365 subscribers create, publish, and manage prompts in Copilot Lab that can be tailored for individual teams in businesses. This should make it a lot easier to share useful prompts for colleagues to use.
Microsoft is revealing these upcoming Copilot for Microsoft 365 features alongside its latest annual Work Trend Index, which this year is a joint report from Microsoft and LinkedIn on the state of AI at work. Microsoft has surveyed 31,000 people across 31 countries, analyzed hiring trends on LinkedIn, and looked at data from Microsoft 365 to provide some statistics on the use of AI in businesses.
“As AI becomes ubiquitous in the workplace, employees and businesses alike are under extreme pressure,” says Spataro. “The pace and intensity of work, which accelerated during the pandemic, has not eased, so employees are bringing their own AI to work.” Microsoft claims that 78 percent of AI users are bringing their own AI tools to work, instead of waiting for organizations to roll out tools.
Microsoft also claims there’s a “rise of the AI power user,” a type of worker that has adopted AI to save time at work. “Compared to skeptics, AI power users have reoriented their workdays in fundamental ways, reimagining business processes and saving over 30 minutes per day,” says Spataro.
Microsoft’s self-serving report comes as the company is under pressure from investors to show that its big investments in AI will generate returns. Of the 31 percent revenue growth for Azure and other cloud services in Microsoft’s recent quarter, revenue from AI services contributed seven points — an increase on the AI impact from the previous quarter.
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