Writing requires a dash of uniquely human creativity. Artificial intelligence alone cannot do it for us, at least not very well. But AI can – and already is – helping us do things like make sure we spell words correctly and use correct grammar, through the myriad ways it is infused across the suite of Microsoft 365 products. Some of them were even used to craft this story.
As the AI in these products is becoming more sophisticated, they are helping us do more than spot a misspelled word.
That includes new intelligent features in Microsoft Word that help us design our documents for maximum readability, along with other features in Microsoft Search and Microsoft Edge that aim to make everybody’s workday more productive. Microsoft showcased these intelligent features today at Microsoft Build, an annual conference for developers, in Seattle.
Microsoft 365 uses AI to help employees overcome some of the realities of modern work, including increasing time demands, overwhelming amounts of data and growing security threats, she noted.
Beginning on May 28, Microsoft Search will move to general availability, the company announced at Build. The technology brings access to the web and work into a single search experience.
New intelligence in Microsoft Search includes a machine reading comprehension capability that can extract a paragraph from documents explicitly related to your question. For example, if an employee asks, “Can I bring my dog to work?” Microsoft Search will extract the relevant paragraph from the human resources manual and present it as a search result.
Another new intelligent feature allows people within a company to conduct people searches with incomplete information. For example, consider being told, “Talk to Pat on the third floor,” and not knowing who Pat is. A search on “Pat, floor 3” uses intelligence from Microsoft Graph such as your immediate team and location to return the most likely Pat, including an office number and picture.
Working on Microsoft Edge
Microsoft, which recently announced plans to adopt the Chromium open source project in the development of Microsoft Edge on the desktop, also is working on ways to make the Edge browser a more natural extension of the Microsoft Search experience. That means users who are signed in to a Microsoft 365 account will be able to see related results within the Edge browser.
The Microsoft Edge team is also experimenting with a feature called Collections that allows users to compile and organize content as they browse the internet in their open browser window and intelligently share the compiled content via email or export it to Excel or Word.
Better Word documents
Beginning this fall, people working in Word Online who are in search of inspiration and insights on how to make their document better will be able to receive intelligent suggestions with Ideas – a feature that is already making people more productive in PowerPoint and Excel.
The Ideas in Word feature uses machine learning and intelligence from Microsoft Graph to help users write polished prose, create more professional documents and efficiently navigate documents created by others.
Other intelligent suggestions include recommended acronyms based on their usage in Microsoft Graph, calculated average time to read the document, highlight extraction, as well as familiar fixes for spelling and grammatical errors and advice on more concise and inclusive language such as “police officer” instead of “policeman.”
A recently available intelligent feature in Word is rewrite suggestions, which brings the power of deep learning to offer suggestions on different ways to write a phrase.
The technology builds on enhancements to the popular synonyms feature in Word that use machine learning to understand the context of the sentence the word appears in to offer alternative word choices that are more relevant.