[German]Does Microsoft plan to extend its Office applications in Microsoft 365 with functions of the "Prometheus Model" from the OpenAI product ChatGPT-4? After the ChatGPT extension of the Bing search engine, that would be Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook with corresponding AI support. At least that's what The Verge claims, and it's in line with the ideas that Microsoft chief Satya Nadella recently expressed.
At the moment, the hype in terms of artificial intelligence in products has unimagined blossoms. In the German blog post Bericht: Microsoft plant Bing bis März 2023 mit ChatGPT-Suche zu erweitern, I reported on plans to integrate ChatGPT into Microsoft search. In the meantime, there the plan has already been implemented (I've addressed it within my German blog post ChatGPT Perlen und Neuigkeiten zum Sonntag). Google has meanwhile reacted with its AI solution Bard and wants to integrate its AI models in products.
In addition, I remind you of my blog post CES AMD talk by Panoy Panay: Windows, let your future be AI, where it is hinted that Microsoft wants to integrate Artificial Intelligence (AI) functions into further products. After all, Microsoft has invested billions in the company OpenAI to be able to use its AI models in its own products.
ChatGPT integration planned in Office
The Verge reported late last week about plans by Microsoft chief Satya Nadella to implement AI features in more products, not just Bing. Microsoft is "preparing for a year of AI announcements," Tom Warren writes at The Verge.
According to Warren, Microsoft is preparing for a demonstration of how its new ChatGPT-like AI will transform Office applications. Following the announcement and demonstration of the Prometheus model in the new Bing search engine, the new demo is about showing what AI can do in Word, PowerPoint and Outlook.
Warren refers to unnamed sources familiar with Microsoft's plans. According to them, an announcement demonstrating how fixed Microsoft is not only integrating ChatGPT into Bing search, but also already "reinventing" Office applications through its OpenAI investments, is already in the works for March 2023.
- According to media reports (see), ChatGPT functions have already been tested with Outlook to improve search results.
- There are also said to be features to suggest responses to emails and integrate Word documents to improve users' writing style.
- According to The Verge, there was also an announcement this week about Viva Sales, where the Azure OpenAI service and GPT will be used to create sales emails.
- And there was an announcement, where Microsoft described that Microsoft Teams Premium with AI-based features is available now.
The basis of the planned extensions is the so-called Prometheus model, which is based on a next-generation OpenAI model. This is already integrated in the Bing search and is currently being tested as a preview with interested users. Microsoft had recently made this announcement about Bing and Edge. In Edge, there are the functions Chat and Compose in the sidebar, which are AI-supported.
Currently, Microsoft is now in the process of implementing the next steps to integrate this model into the core Microsoft Office and Teams applications and also plans to show first results soon. Technically, according to The Verge, Microsoft could already use the Prometheus model in Office web applications thanks to the integration of the Bing sidebar in Microsoft's Edge browser. German blogger Martin Geuß has outlined here his thoughts about that.
Some more thoughts
Satya Nadella has been pushing the envelope regarding AI integration since the success of ChatGPT became apparent. From his perspective, this is understandable, especially since Google is now following suit with Bard. However, two approaches cross my mind when I think about this approach:
- a) With its constant changes in the Current Channel of Microsoft 365, Microsoft already can't manage to roll it out halfway free of bugs and collateral damage (see the current article Microsoft 365: Bugs in Word 365 release 2301 – Write protection blocks changes and VBA AddIns). And now new features are being added to the Office applications in a hurry – at the same time there are major layoffs in Redmond – not a good combination.
- b) One point that Microsoft's propagandists and the media simply don't have on their radar is the role of the GDPR in this brave new AI world of Microsoft. I had just blogged about this topic this weekend (see Microsoft 365 an Schulen: Droht Schadensersatz wegen DSGVO-Verstößen?). There is a huge discussion with German data protection officer (dpo) /privacy watch guards, that Microsoft 365 at schools isn't GDPR compliant. All the DPO investigations I know of in this regard were based on Office 2016/2019 with perpetual licensing – but Microsoft is pushing Microsoft 365 as a subscription model with monthly or bi-annual releases.
I wonder how an IT manager will be able to defend this point a to users and management in the future. The point "Cloud has just failed, the operation is up and running", or the "sandwhich-postion" in relation to Office is getting wider and wider in functionality, but the attack surface and the attacks are continuously increasing, I don't even want to open.
And who, as a data protection officer, wants to prove that the whole thing is still GDPR-compliant with regard to point b? And now Microsoft is going one better with its AI approach. Let no one tell me that the AI models only run locally and the data is not transferred to the cloud. Ad hoc, I would say that the ML models are trained with more data. With AI for generating images, we already have the issue of artists suing the companies because their works were used to train the ML models. And also with AI assisted code generation from Microsoft GitHub CoPilot, there are also lawsuits from developers who see their code misused.
Can be spun further: What if a Word feature grabs fragments in doctor's letters or confidential documents and submit it to the ML model to improve the "wording of the text" or suggest answers, and those fragments are incorporated into the model. And then at some point someone asks ChatGPT the question "What can you tell me about topic xyz, person abc or company "08/15". Who can guarantee that the knowledge from the many millions of documents will not suddenly lead to concrete statements that make a person, a situation or a company identifiable?
I know, the example is far-fetched. But at the latest when it can no longer be ensured that internal company documents also remain internal to the company, the "child has fallen into the well". I guess I'll have a lot of fun with this as a blogger. And for data protection officers or data protection supervisors, a new barrel has just been opened. Maybe just move the implications in the back of your mind – no matter how affinitive you are to Office or how alternative-less you see it.
I consider the readers of this blog to be the "creme de la creme" in terms of technical understanding, so live up to your responsibility and make sure that the legal requirements of the GDPR are demonstrably complied with and implemented – and if necessary, follow up emphatically with Microsoft. We already have enough "useful idiots" in all areas.
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