March 20, 2023


Microsoft did what we expected last Thursday by putting generative AI called Copilot into Microsoft 365 next year. This technology is potentially a game changer for office productivity, as Microsoft Office initially was.

Let’s talk about the Copilot effect this week. Then we’ll close with our Product of the Week, a new laptop from HP that’s the result of an unusually close collaboration with AMD and gives people like me who don’t have an IT department an edge compared to most IT shops. Provides better support experience

Microsoft 365 Co-Pilot: Your Digital Secretary

When I started in the technology business, secretaries were common. I even shared one for a while, and it was a great experience. Sadly I was on the receiving end of such help. It was incredible to have an employee whose job I have my back and who would complement and reassure my work.

As products such as Office advanced, companies concluded that secretaries were no longer needed, and executives were given tools that supposedly automated the secretary’s role. They didn’t, however, because those devices weren’t smart.

Automated tools made us more productive but didn’t fix shortcomings we could have done with human assistants, such as writing a good letter, maintaining correspondence, and keeping a secret of our inability to manage our anger. Some social media blew up).

This initial use of generative AI in Co-Pilot, while much smarter than Office without it, won’t initially make up for all our shortcomings, but it will get smarter over time. I am confident that it will grow to fully embrace the role of the old Secretary. But in the beginning, it will increase our productivity by turning our ideas and concepts into completed works.

This digital secretary is still young and naive

We have to keep in mind that this technology, which is already in its fourth generation, is still very young and immature. We can’t depend on it like an experienced human assistant, which means it’s more about producing quantity than quality. We will need to learn this tool and be aware of its weaknesses.

While it is far more intelligent than Office, it is not as smart as a good human assistant. It can’t pick up on context, it won’t always understand intonation effects, and it won’t be able to protect you from a mistake.

The tool isn’t a peer to peer yet, although I expect it to evolve to become one. In a way, it is like a small child who looks up to his parents like God and does not question anything the parents say. It doesn’t understand nuance or realize that those parents aren’t perfect.

This tool will not only do what you tell it to do, even if it’s not in your best interests, but it will also take fed data, fact or fiction, and treat it like the truth. As a result, you’ll need to provide oversight and recognize that it may be operating at a speed that could be dangerous.

twitter alert

One of the things that makes Twitter dangerous is that you can see and react to something without thinking about the implications of your response. You see a funny post and like it without realizing the post is sexist or racist, and your career comes to an abrupt end.

You get angry and post your feelings about something your CEO did, you misread a post or just react poorly to a post and again, your career is over. Is. The speed at which you can deliver on Twitter is one of the biggest threats to your future.

Copilot is initially a speed tool. If you’re upset, this would draft an email that could end your career, so you should use restraint like Twitter to avoid sending it. One of the advantages of writing something yourself is that it gives you time to think about what you’re doing and maybe rethink it.

I’m not suggesting that the tool is bad, but like any tool that initially focuses more on speed than quality, the risk of acting rashly increases significantly. Luckily, for those of us who haven’t lost our jobs because of a poorly thought-out tweet (my fix was mostly to stay off Twitter), we know how to stop and think before we act.

Still, as awesome as it is (and it’s awesome!), we need to realize that this new technology is in danger of acting first, only to regret that action later.

Bringing Back Microsoft’s Office Assistant Clippy

After reading that headline, I can practically hear some people throwing things at me and yelling, “No!” While Clippy’s concept was cool, the technology and execution were admittedly terrible. But as Copilot develops, it will gain the ability to help you do certain tasks better as it learns how to accomplish them. In other words, Copilot is massively more helpful than Clippy, even in the beginning.

Where I’m particularly interested to see this tool work with PowerPoint. Most of us, myself included, suck at PowerPoint, which is ironic because my earliest success as an executive was creating great presentation slides. But as time went on, I got lazy and started creating word-heavy slides that didn’t properly utilize the visual aspects of that tool.

Copilot for PowerPoint takes that text approach and makes visually compelling slides out of it, so I can still be lazy and have more eye-catching presentations. This corrects the bad practice many of us have developed over the years and creates a tremendous amount of work where we can iterate over material until the slides tell the story we want to tell.

For me, this version of Copilot offers the greatest benefits with the least potential risk. Given my outrageous presentation history, this could be life changing. This video shows the CoPilot in action.


This brings up another point which is that this tool allows you to iterate more quickly. I write as I think, but this means I am often very wordy, and my flow is not ideal.

With Copilot, you can quickly iterate a document, then create multiple drafts, improving each one as you go. In fact, I recommend that approach for improving the quality of the result. I hope that the most benefit from CoPilot will be those who learn to use the tool and iterate to improve the quality of the results.

While this will reduce production somewhat, it will improve quality so that the results are otherwise better, rather than simply produced more quickly.

Wrapping up: who is most at risk?

As with any automation advancement, there are people who are at substantial risk and there are people who will benefit most from the technology. Those focused on speed over quality will be hurt at first by this device unless more quality assurance is built into it. Others, who focus on quality over quantity, will see it as a godsend.

An analogy would be a bad versus a good driver in a more powerful car. A bad driver is more likely to die, while a good driver will reach their destination more quickly and safely. This class of equipment will amplify both good and bad behavior. Disciplined and organized people will love this device. Others… not so much.

Like any new technology, looking beyond the hype to see the real benefits and risks of a new device will yield better results. While Copilot is already impressive, its initial focus is more quantitative than qualitative, meaning you’ll need to pay more attention to quality and learn how to use this tool before going hog wild with it.

tech product of the week

hp dragonfly pro

The Dragonfly line is HP’s flagship laptop line, designed to deliver the best experience and highest security of any HP offering.

The latest, the HP Dragonfly Pro, is unique in that it was jointly designed with AMD to strike a good balance of light weight, long battery life, and performance. Also, this product provides the kind of IT support that enterprises get but for small businesses and freelancers like me. In terms of design, it is a mix of some of the best Windows and Apple design elements.

The HP Dragonfly Pro has the oversized touchpad and clean lines of an Apple product and the more robust finish, touchscreen, ports, and IT tools, for example, the facial recognition and fingerprint reader of a Windows product – all wrapped with HP’s market-leading security Has happened.

The service offering that comes with Dragonfly Pro is also unique. Dedicated buttons on the right side of the keyboard allow quick access to the notebook’s features and functions and enable you to launch user-selected apps with a single button – and contact support, too. Its support button reminds me of a feature in newer cars where you press a button and get connected to support instantly.

HP Dragonfly Pro in Sparkling Black

Dragonfly Pro in Sparkling Black (Image credit: HP)

Something else new in this laptop is a high-performance charger, but it’s had mixed results. Unlike HP’s older chargers, this one has an attached AC plug, and, like most chargers of this type, it doesn’t work well in planes and has a tendency to fall off or hit feet depending on where those plugs sit. Is.

The easy fix is ​​a short extension cord that allows you to slide the charger under the seat and take the charger’s weight off the plug. Definitely use a three-prong extension cord, because on older planes, the AC outlet is so frayed that any two-prong plug will fall out regardless of weight. But the Dragonfly Pro has about 10 hours of battery life, so you may not need to use the charger on the plane if you charge the laptop before you leave.

I got a chance to try out the support experience, and it was great, with good engagement and aggressive follow-up, which is unusual for laptop support. You can pay extra for a package that will also provide a replacement laptop in case yours breaks.

Retail price starts at $1,399 for 16GB of memory and 512GB of storage. For about $150 more, you can double both the memory and the storage (it’s a bargain, but most of us don’t need that much extra capacity).

oh, one more thing. The speakers on the Dragonfly Pro are amazing. I was watching a Netflix show on it in my hotel room, and the sound filled the room with incredible output from a laptop I could argue is the best. As a result, the HP Dragonfly Pro is my product of the week.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network.