Buckle Up for AI’s New Frontier: Microsoft’s AI Expansion

Discover the Power of AI as Microsoft Unveils its Innovative Copilots and Expanded Plugin Ecosystem: A Bonanza of Tools, Platforms, and Opportunities for Developers to Craft Advanced AI Applications and Revolutionize the Digital Landscape


Microsoft outlines framework for building AI apps and copilots; expands AI plugin ecosystem

Microsoft’s CTO Kevin Scott reckons all software will soon come with its own version of a smart sidekick, or a “copilot” as he puts it. This is not just about spinning a top-notch sales spiel or catching up on that snooze-inducing meeting you skipped, but more like a virtual PA capable of pulling off stuff like creating flashy slideshows or even planning a themed party.

Remember GitHub Copilot? That whiz-bang tool from Microsoft that helps devs write code? Well, buckle up, ’cause now the tech behemoth’s taking that idea to a whole other level, stretching it across Bing, Microsoft 365, and more. Today, they unveiled a few more fellas joining the gang, including Copilots in Power BI, Power Pages, Microsoft Fabric, and Windows. Plus, they’re gifting devs a toolkit to craft their own AI applications, sprinkling in some nifty features to play with other software.

Speaking of playing nice, Microsoft’s marrying the open plugin standards set by OpenAI with its Copilots. So now, devs get a one-stop platform to build plugins for the likes of ChatGPT, Bing, Dynamics 365, Microsoft 365, and Windows Copilot. Bing’s becoming the default search option on ChatGPT and welcoming new pals like Expedia, Instacart, Kayak, and more. Developers can also jazz up Microsoft 365 Copilot with plugins, making use of handy tools like the Microsoft Teams Toolkit for Visual Studio Code and Visual Studio.

So what’s the deal with these plugins? Think of them as bridges. Like a connector between an AI system and a company’s private data. They give Copilots access to these files, whether it’s to answer a company query or book a business trip following company policies. Basically, a plugin lets an AI tap into resources and capabilities it can’t on its own. And these plugins aren’t just for Microsoft’s Copilots – developers can also use them to pump up their own AI applications.

In essence, Microsoft’s laying out a grand buffet of tools and platforms for developers to create, test, and deploy their own plugins, and promising a future where they’ll play nice across the Copilot ecosystem. To that, I say, “Hold onto your butts, folks, it’s about to get a whole lot more interesting in software land!”


Microsoft just supercharged ChatGPT with Bing’s AI-powered search

So here’s the skinny: ChatGPT, that smart-alecky AI butler we all love, used to be as up-to-date as a rotary phone. It’s been sitting pretty on old news since 2021, but Microsoft just cranked things up a notch.

Microsoft Build 2023 was like Christmas morning for ChatGPT. It’s getting hitched to Bing’s search engine, meaning this AI can now keep up with the Joneses.

No longer is ChatGPT just regurgitating facts like a parrot with a history degree, now it can dig up fresh news straight from the internet – just like its new pal Bing Chat. Yusuf Mehdi, some bigwig at Microsoft, was all over it, promising “timelier and more up-to-date answers.”

ChatGPT’s also stepping up its credibility game – you’ll be able to trace its info back to the source, like breadcrumbs leading to a fact feast.

Now, if you’re already forking over your hard-earned cash for ChatGPT Plus, this new update’s already coming your way. For the rest of us cheapskates, Microsoft’s tossing us a bone: we’ll get it for free soon with a handy-dandy plugin. Get ready for a whole new ChatGPT, folks!


Microsoft pledges to watermark AI-generated images and videos

Alright, get this. Microsoft’s got this bright idea to mark AI-created pictures and videos like a cow gets branded on a Texas ranch. They’re saying, “Hey, that picture there ain’t real, it’s AI-generated.” It’s not as simple as slapping a sticker on it, though. You’ve got to use this fancy tech-talk, the C2PA specification, to read the mark. It’s like needing special glasses to see invisible ink.

Now, this C2PA thing is pretty big league. It’s got the backing of Adobe and a few other bigwigs. But there’s a hitch – not everyone’s on board. Like that one neighbor who refuses to take down their Christmas lights in July. Some of these AI image-makers haven’t agreed to this “branding” method.

So will this new Microsoft plan matter? It’s like asking if a pig’s whistle will scare away crows – we just don’t know yet. One thing’s for sure, though. The way we track and tag these AI-made images is changing. It’s kinda like the wild west out there, but with computers instead of cowboys.


Microsoft launches an AI tool to take the pain out of building websites

Microsoft’s playing Dr. Frankenstein and given life to a new AI beastie called Copilot in Power Pages. The big M thinks this gizmo will make building websites a walk in the park. You tell it what you want in plain ol’ English, and this clever monkey starts whipping up text, forms, layouts, the works. Heck, it’ll even set up your backend database tables for you, no sweat.

Now, don’t think you’re breaking new ground here. Others have trod this path before, with tools like Jasper and Mixo doing some of the same heavy lifting. But Microsoft’s bigwig, Sangya Singh, thinks Copilot’s got an edge, being more versatile and all. She’s quick to point out though, this ain’t no magic bullet for spam sites.

Copilot works in three stages, from no code to low code to pro code. That’s like going from your kid’s Lego blocks to designing a whole skyscraper. And it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, there are some dicey parts too. Adding AI in the mix can be like playing with fire, especially when it comes to churning out content that’s a bit too spicy. But Singh’s on it, she says they’ve got “guardrails” in place to keep things on the straight and narrow.

Oh, and did I mention the chatbot? You can plug that into your website too, and it also has a safety net in place. So, folks, this ain’t your grandma’s automatic website generator. It’s a tool, like a digital Swiss Army knife. You’re the one driving the bus here, and Copilot’s just riding shotgun, giving you tips along the way.


Microsoft’s Azure AI Studio lets developers build their own AI ‘copilots’

Microsoft’s cookin’ up a new tool called Azure AI Studio. What’s it for? Well, it’s meant to help companies whip up their own AI “copilots.” We’re talkin’ about chatbot apps powered by AI that help out with stuff like writing sales pitches or making images for a presentation.

This new tool lets customers merge a model—like OpenAI’s ChatGPT or GPT-4—with their own data, and then build a chat assistant or similar app. And don’t you worry, all of this happens without exposing any private data. As Microsoft’s bigwig John Montgomery put it, it’s a “tremendous accelerant” for customers to build their own copilots.

Building one of these copilots starts with picking an AI model, and then laying out what the copilot’s job will be. There’s an option to add cloud-based storage so the copilot can keep track of a conversation and respond properly. And you can plug in other services too.

Microsoft reckons this new Azure AI Studio is a big deal ’cause it lets customers use OpenAI’s models on their own data, without compromising security or breaking any rules. They’re banking on customers loving the option to custom-build their AI using Microsoft’s cloud tools.

To sweeten the deal, Microsoft’s also rolling out some new perks for its Azure OpenAI Service. Customers can now reserve and deploy model processing capacity monthly or yearly. Fancy that!

So there you have it, folks. Microsoft is goin’ all-in with Azure AI Studio, helping companies build their own AI copilots and offering reserved processing capacity. A bold move, but who knows? It might just pay off.


Google to experiment with ads that appear in its AI chatbot in Search

Google, the bigwig in search engines, is starting to sneak ads into its fancy AI chatbot in search, pretty much like that other tech mammoth, Microsoft, did with Bing Chat. Talk about déjà vu.

Google presented this plan at their I/O developer hoopla earlier in the month, explaining how ads will pop up at the top and bottom of their shiny new AI feature, the Search Generative Experience (SGE). So, suppose you’re hunting for a new two-wheeler online. You’d not only get the lowdown on what makes a good bike but also get ads related to your search that could pique your interest.

Another interesting tidbit from Google’s Marketing Live event was the company’s plan to directly fuse ads into their AI-powered chat. Picture this: you’re searching for things to do in Maui, focusing on stuff for the kiddos and surfing. Presto, you see an ad for surfing lessons for kids. Pretty neat, eh? But don’t worry, these ads will have a big, bold “Sponsored” tag to keep things above board.

Of course, some folks might still confuse these ads with the AI’s recommendations, especially when they pop up in the same list. Google also plans to toy around with fresh ad formats tailored for SGE that use AI to whip up high-quality, customized ads.

Now this might tickle your fancy. Google’s going to bring this AI into Performance Max – their everything-and-the-kitchen-sink ad platform that lets advertisers reach customers everywhere from YouTube to Gmail. Just provide your website, and Google’s AI will study your brand and fill your campaign with all sorts of goodies, even suggesting images.

So there you have it, folks. The future of advertising with Google’s AI is bright, and they’re going all-in with their new conversational experience. Fasten your seatbelts, it’s gonna be a wild ride.


NVIDIA and Microsoft Drive Innovation for Windows PCs in New Era of Generative AI

Imagine creating something outta thin air. That’s generative AI for ya, thinkin’ up nifty stuff like texts and images. It’s got some muscle in areas like work, making cool content, and gaming. Microsoft and NVIDIA were shooting the breeze at a conference, talking up how their shiny new AI tech is gonna juice up Windows 11 PCs.

They’ve got 400+ apps and games running on AI, revved up by these smarty-pants processors (Tensor Cores, mind you) on NVIDIA’s GPUs. The big news: new tools for AI development, jazzed up AI performance, and niftier AI deployment. They’re aiming for this AI stuff to be the shot in the arm for Windows innovation.

Now, here’s where it gets real interesting. Usually, folks tinkering with AI have been dancing with Linux, but Microsoft’s pulled a rabbit out of their hat. They’ve built a way to run Linux right inside Windows OS – that’s Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) for ya. Now developers can use their Windows PC for AI work without missing a beat, all thanks to GPU support in WSL.

Microsoft also released a shiny new tool, the Microsoft Olive. It’s like a handy Swiss knife that helps developers optimize and deploy AI models to PC or cloud. Once deployed, these models pack a wallop in the performance department, even as they guzzle less juice, especially for laptops.

Already, big names like Adobe, DxO, ON1, and Topaz are all in on the AI game, with over 400 applications and games primed for NVIDIA’s Tensor Cores.

Long story short, Microsoft and NVIDIA are making it easier to whip up and roll out AI on Windows 11. If you’re a developer and want to ride this AI wave, you’d best saddle up now!


Google-backed Anthropic raises $450 mln in latest AI funding

Anthropic, a fresh-faced startup, is jockeying for position in the horse race against OpenAI, with a cash injection of a cool $450 million, courtesy of big dogs like Google and Spark Capital. No chump change, huh?

So, what’s the hullabaloo about? Well, Anthropic is working on what they call “foundation models.” Imagine training a dog, but instead of just fetching the paper, it can clean the house, cook dinner, and file your taxes. Basically, these models are trained on more data than a teenager consumes TikTok videos, and can do a bunch of tasks with a little tweaking.

The scoreboard shows Anthropic clocking in with almost $1 billion in total funding. This leaves it sitting pretty as one of the top dogs in AI startup funding. They’re playing coy with their exact valuation, but word on the street suggests it’s close to $5 billion.

AI’s a hot ticket right now, with companies throwing money at it like it’s going out of style. Anthropic and their competitors are gulping down funds faster than a sports car guzzles gas, all to create these jumbo-sized models that eat up computing power like a kid at a candy store.

OpenAI kicked off the AI craze last year with their own little digital chatterbox, ChatGPT. They raked in a whopping $10 billion from Microsoft, but it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. The powers that be are starting to raise eyebrows at how this tech might be used to spread false info. No bueno.

Now, Anthropic’s founders are former OpenAI bigwigs, and they swear up and down that their AI is as safe as houses. They promise it won’t spit out plans for building a bomb or use any nasty language. They’re on a collision course with OpenAI’s GPT-4, with businesses lining up to pit the two against each other.

Zoom, the virtual meeting kingpin and one of the investors, plans to roll Anthropic’s models into its video-call platform. If that’s not a vote of confidence, I don’t know what is.

According to Matt Murphy, partner at Menlo Ventures, it’s not just a winner-takes-all scenario. They’re backing Anthropic to the hilt, seeing them as one of the two big future winners in the AI race. It’s worth noting that Anthropic’s last round investors, Google and Salesforce, have doubled down on their bet.

Finally, to add another feather in their cap, Yasmin Razavi from Spark Capital is now sitting pretty on Anthropic’s board of directors. Let’s just say, the game’s afoot, and we’re all waiting for the next move with bated breath. Over and out!


Spotify may use AI to make host-read podcast ads that sound like real people

Looks like Spotify’s gearing up to put a new spin on the good ol’ ads we all love to hate. Apparently, they’ve been playing around with that fancy AI mumbo-jumbo to turn host voices into ads. What’s the catch, you ask? Well, the host ain’t really doing any yapping, it’s just their voice — cloned, kind of like that sci-fi movie with the sheep.

This info comes straight from the horse’s mouth, Bill Simmons, who runs The Ringer, a Spotify-owned joint. Now, Simmons, he’s a slick talker, spills the beans saying we could get ads suited to our locale or even in a foreign lingo, provided the host’s cool with it. But between you and me, ol’ Simmons might have jumped the gun on this one, ’cause Spotify isn’t exactly singing the same tune. They’re keeping mum on this, only saying they’re exploring all sorts of stuff, including this ad idea.

Now, this ain’t Spotify’s first rodeo with AI. They’ve got this AI DJ, courtesy of their honcho of Cultural Partnerships and podcast host, Xavier “X” Jernigan. The fellow went into a studio, did some high-quality recordings with all the right bells and whistles, and voila, the AI DJ was born. They used this high-tech stuff from OpenAI to create this DJ, so it’s not a stretch to think they could do the same for these host-voiced ads.

So, where’s all this headed? Your guess is as good as mine. But one thing’s for sure, the line between man and machine just got blurrier. A few years back, Google made headlines with their own chatty AI that could book a table for you at your favorite grub joint. Even Apple’s jumped on the bandwagon recently with an AI that mimics your voice.

Let’s see how this pans out. One thing’s for sure though, don’t go holding your breath for an ad-free Spotify anytime soon. If anything, you might soon be hearing more from your favorite hosts, even if they’ve got no clue what they’re yammering about.


Adobe to integrate AI into Photoshop amid fears of job losses and mass faking of images

Adobe’s about to teach its Photoshop a new trick. They’re stirring some fancy generative AI into the mix. That’s a fancy way of saying they’re making a program that can generate new things. Think of it like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat, but in this case, the hat’s a computer, and the rabbit’s a picture.

The name of this techno-rabbit? Adobe Firefly. Rolled out as a beta, or a test version, a few weeks back, Adobe insists it’s not about to steal the bread and butter of graphic designers. Instead, they’re spinning it as a “co-pilot,” or an assistant, to make the magic happen quicker and more easily.

This new upgrade to Photoshop lets users jazz up images with text prompts like “long haired dachshund with long flowing rainbow hair.” Fancy a dog with rainbow hair? Done. This ‘generative fill’ feature will be ready to roll out by Tuesday.

Adobe ain’t exactly a newbie to the AI game, though. They’ve been using AI in their tools for over ten years, like a background replacement tool in Photoshop. But this new Firefly addition is going to let you do more than just swap backdrops. It will let users cook up brand new images and templates from scratch.

But, here’s the rub: artists are worried that AI might steal copyrighted artwork to learn its tricks. Adobe, however, insists that they’ve only trained Firefly using their own stock library and public domain images where copyright isn’t a problem anymore.

Adobe’s director of digital media and strategy for Asia-Pacific, Chandra Sinnathamby, thinks this new tool is just the ticket for small businesses to do their own graphic design. He’s keen on the idea of speeding up and scaling the creative process. And no, it’s not about replacing graphic designers.

With a nod towards the panic around AI creating fake stuff online, Adobe’s come up with a system to tag images that are AI-made or edited. Basically, a digital breadcrumb trail to show where an image came from. They’ve been doing this since 2019 and have around a thousand folks on board.

So, there you have it. If you ever wanted a long-haired dachshund with flowing rainbow hair, Adobe’s new Photoshop might be your genie in a bottle. But as for the fears of job losses and fakes flooding the net? Well, we’ll just have to wait and see how that cookie crumbles.


Dell Technologies and NVIDIA Introduce Project Helix for Secure, On-Premises Generative AI

Dell and NVIDIA are kickin’ up the dirt with their new brainchild, Project Helix. In plain English? They’re helping businesses build and use fancy artificial intelligence models, right in their own backyard, all neat and secure. And why? To serve you better and faster, of course.

Now, here’s the skinny on Project Helix. They’re rollin’ out the whole shebang, from the nuts and bolts of tech expertise to a treasure trove of pre-built tools. So if you’re an enterprise sitting on a mountain of data, you can now mine that gold without breaking a sweat.

The big guns at Dell and NVIDIA can’t stop gabbing about how this project’s gonna usher in a whole new era of AI solutions. To translate their tech-speak: they’ve made it super easy to use your own data to build AI applications. All secure and on-site, so you’re not airing your dirty laundry.

Now, remember that “generative AI lifecycle” they kept mentioning? It’s just a fancy way of saying they’ve got you covered from start to finish. From building your AI model, to making it fit for purpose, and finally launching it into the wild.

Their secret sauce includes Dell’s PowerEdge servers and NVIDIA’s sparkly GPUs and Networking. Now, don’t fret if those words sound like gobbledygook. Basically, they’re the gears that make the magic happen.

The cherry on top? Project Helix has a big focus on security and privacy. You’re not gonna find your sensitive data floating around where it shouldn’t be.

What does Bob O’Donnell, some big shot analyst, have to say? He thinks Dell and NVIDIA have given businesses a leg up to explore AI without stumbling over their shoelaces.

Well, folks, the proof will be in the pudding. The Project Helix gizmos will be up for grabs starting July 2023. So, if you’ve got a taste for AI, Dell and NVIDIA are setting the table for you. Grab your forks and dig in!