At a product launch event this week in New York, Microsoft unveiled a slew of new artificial intelligence (AI) features coming to its Windows operating system, Bing search engine, and other products. The upgrades include personalized answers to search, DALL-E integrations and watermarks for AI art. These new features deliver on Microsoft’s vision for infusing more of its software and services with AI to boost productivity and streamline workflows.
The most notable addition is support for OpenAI’s new DALL-E 3 AI image generation model in Bing. First released in March 2022, Bing integrated some version of DALL-E to allow users to generate images through chat. Now Bing will upgrade to DALL-E 3, OpenAI’s latest iteration promising more realistic details in generated images like fingers, faces, and shadows.
Digital Watermarks for AI Images
DALL-E 3 also introduces new techniques to discourage harmful content creation. All AI-generated images in Bing will have invisible digital watermarks called Content Credentials.
Using cryptography methods from the Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity (C2PA), the watermarks add transparency around synthetic media. Adobe, Intel, Sony, and other tech firms joined C2PA to develop open standards for attributing AI content.
Personalized Answers to Search
Beyond DALL-E 3, Microsoft is infusing Bing search with more personalization based on users’ prior interactions.
For instance, if you previously chatted with Bing about favorite sports teams or musicians, it can factor those interests into future searches to deliver more tailored results.
According to Microsoft, over 60% of searches are follow-up queries trying to refine an initial search. Personalized context from chat history helps improve relevancy without needing multiple searches.
Users Can Opt-out of Personalization, If Wanted
Users will be able to opt out of personalization if they prefer search results not be informed by past Bing Chat activity. But Microsoft believes it will significantly improve the search experience, especially for multi-step research across queries.
AI Assistance Now Built-In
Along with the Bing updates, Microsoft announced several new AI capabilities coming to Windows 11 itself. Future upgrades include the ability to generate images and creative content.
Windows apps like Paint, Clipchamp, and Photos will integrate DALL-E 3 to instantly create images, social media posts, invites, and more based on text prompts. Other apps will gain AI writing assistance features, with Copilot research and code suggestions expanding from Visual Studio to Word, Outlook, PowerPoint and more.
Microsoft also highlighted Responsible AI features to govern how its AI systems operate. This includes transparency around AI-generated content and measures to avoid harmful, biased, or unethical AI behavior.
AI-Powered Chat and CoPilot Utilizes GitHub
At the enterprise level, Microsoft 365 subscribers will soon access powerful new AI through Microsoft 365 Chat and Copilot. Available November 1, 2023, Microsoft 365 Chat delivers an AI assistant to enhance productivity, collaboration, and knowledge sharing for teams.
Powered by the same technology as Bing chatbot Sydney, Microsoft 365 Chat can summarize long documents, synthesize meeting notes, suggest reminders, and more. Users can customize the chatbot’s name and personality.
Copilot draws on GitHub’s massive code repository to generate code suggestions and explanations for developers. After a technical preview, Copilot will rollout across Microsoft 365 and Bing for all enterprise customers later this year.
The dual consumer and enterprise AI push builds on Microsoft’s recent $10 billion investment in OpenAI as it races against Google, Meta, and others in the AI space. Microsoft clearly believes intelligent algorithms will define the next era of computing.
Integrated AI Across Office 365 Gives Microsoft an Edge
By tightly integrating AI across Windows, Office 365, and its Azure cloud platform, Microsoft is betting augmented intelligence will become a key differentiator especially in the highly competitive productivity software market. Google hopes to achieve similar AI ubiquity through products like Bard search and Gmail smart features.
But Microsoft’s horizontal approach stitching together consumer, enterprise, and cloud AI could give it an edge over rivals. It can leverage strengths like Office 365’s enormous install base and Outlook’s dominance in corporate email to spread its AI advancements.
The breadth of Microsoft’s AI rollout shows it is trying to democratize the technology before competitors. Consumers gain new creative tools through Windows and Bing, while workers enjoy heightened productivity via Copilot coding, Microsoft 365 Chat, and other features coming later this year.
It represents a major escalation in big tech’s AI war. Microsoft is strategically positioning itself at the forefront after laying the groundwork through acquisitions like Nuance and partnerships with OpenAI. Its unified AI fabric could soon give Microsoft a commanding lead over slower-moving rivals.
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