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Workplace Software and Skills

15.7 New Developments: The Role of Artificial Intelligence

Workplace Software and Skills15.7 New Developments: The Role of Artificial Intelligence

Learning Objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Understand the role of AI in applications
  • Describe generative AI

Throughout the text, we looked at the basic and advanced capabilities of the Microsoft and Google applications. We also discussed other key programs that you may encounter in your career. But these programs are just the tip of the iceberg. These companies are constantly developing and improving their products. In addition, with new advances in technology emerging nearly on a daily basis, these applications will evolve. Specifically, advances in the use of artificial intelligence (AI) have found their way into many aspects of our day-to-day lives. These technologies are evolving quickly, so it is worth keeping updated on them as you move through your career. You can go to Microsoft or Google’s website to investigate the current state of AI integration in their applications. Here we discuss just a few of the recent developments.

Artificial Intelligence in Applications

A number of programs have AI embedded in their applications, a feature that is expected to increase as AI technology advances. AI has also been integrated into search engines such as Bing and Microsoft Edge. Both Microsoft and Google have introduced AI into their applications. Microsoft is incorporating AI into all of its Microsoft 365 applications, including Outlook. This product, called Copilot, will provide enhanced abilities to summarize documents, add animations to slides in PowerPoint, and create stories in Word. As of this writing, Copilot is still in the developmental stage with a small group of test users. It is being marketed as a tool to improve employee efficiency by automating time-consuming tasks such as composing or reading long emails or summarizing datasets in Excel.

In a comparable way, Google is testing incorporating AI into its Workspace applications. Google’s tool, called Bard, is designed to do many of the same things as Microsoft’s Copilot. The program uses machine learning to generate emails, draft documents, and summarize data trends, among many other functions. Keep in mind that as AI continues to evolve, governments will seek to regulate its use and application.

For both Microsoft and Google, the goal is to use AI technology to enhance worker productivity. Adding automation to routine, time-consuming tasks can free up employees to focus on more pressing and impactful tasks that will contribute to their companies in a greater way. Although both Microsoft’s Copilot and Google’s Bard are not widely available to all users at present, we can expect to see more AI in these programs with time.

Generative AI

Generative AI is a type of computer programming and machine learning technology that builds and generates content itself. The computer is “trained” using complex programming that searches the internet for relevant information. Then, based on the information found, the program can generate new content such as text or audio.

For example, using a generative AI application, you can have a research essay constructed that will use existing information to write the essay for you based on specific parameters, such as its length and topic. As another example, parts of separate audio files can be combined into a new musical piece based on a certain genre of music.

Recently, an innovative technology has emerged that is one of the most sophisticated generative AI programs to date. This program, called ChatGPT, is designed to mimic conversational language. It is programmed to respond to inquiries, ask clarifying questions, and even highlight its own mistakes. ChatGPT uses many sources, including textbooks and websites, to train the program to use a natural tone when responding, in contrast to the more rigid, less engaging, and often robotic responses typical of previous AI programs.

This program can be used to create original poems or music in a certain style. It can also be used to draft research papers or articles on specific topics. You will start seeing the application of ChatGPT in customer service applications. Even now, if you have a problem with an order you placed online, you can often access a chat feature on the website to get help on the issue. It is likely that ChatGPT will be used in this context, as it is more conversational, giving the impression that the user is conversing with a human, not a computer.


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