Microsoft Copilot: your new research assistant

There are so many uses for Copilot that go beyond the obvious, from writing code to booking team days out through the appropriate plugin. However, one of the most useful ways you can leverage Copilot within your organisation is to treat it like a research assistant.

One of Copilot’s strengths is the ease with which it can break down difficult concepts. It can reply to a question like “explain the impact of AI on business” with a concise summary of key points, citing reliable sources. 

It also recommends trustworthy websites for more reading, and even proposes insightful questions to ask as follow-ups!

However, because Copilot, like any AI assistant, can sometimes “hallucinate” misinformation, it’s always wise to verify the accuracy of its answers. That’s what makes it a “research assistant” rather than a full-blown researcher. 

To mitigate the risk of these hallucinations, use Copilot’s “precise” option. And rest assured, verifying the accuracy of these answers takes a lot less time than searching Google and doing the original research yourself.

Ultimately, descriptions of Copilot’s ability as a researcher are only so useful. So, we thought we’d actually show you firsthand what it can do. Earlier in this blog, we wrote that Copilot can reply to a question like “explain the impact of AI on business” in a useful and credibly sourced way. This is Copilot’s actual response (we’ve left the American spelling in for authenticity!):

“Artificial Intelligence (AI) has a profound impact on businesses across various sectors. Here are some key areas where AI is making a significant difference:

Efficiency and Cost Reduction: AI helps automate and optimize routine processes, saving time and money [1]. It can process vast amounts of data, boosting key performance metrics such as revenue, productivity, business growth, digital transformation, and efficiency [2].

Cybersecurity and Fraud Management: Over half of business owners use AI for cybersecurity and fraud management [3]. AI’s ability to analyze patterns and detect anomalies makes it a valuable tool in these areas.

Customer Relationship Management: Nearly two-thirds (64%) of business owners believe AI will improve customer relationships [3]. AI can predict customer preferences, helping businesses tailor their offerings and grow their customer base [1].

Content Production: AI is used in content production, with one in three businesses planning to use AI to write website content [3]. This includes writing content in other languages, which can help businesses reach a wider audience [3].

Operations: AI is used in inventory management, supply chain operations, and accounting, helping businesses streamline their operations and make more informed decisions [3].

Recruitment and Talent Sourcing: AI is also used in recruitment and talent sourcing, helping businesses find the right talent more efficiently [3].

However, it’s important to note that while AI brings numerous benefits, it also raises concerns such as potential over-dependence on technology [3] and the impact on website traffic [3]. As AI continues to evolve, businesses need to adapt and learn how to best integrate this technology into their operations.”

It also listed the following sources:

1: The Impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on Business

2: The Impact of AI on Business

3: How Businesses are Using Artificial Intelligence in 2024

4: The Impact of AI on Business and Society

And it suggested these follow up questions:

“What are some examples of AI in business?”

“How can I implement AI in my small business?”

“What is the future of AI in business?”

We’ve primarily asked Copilot to talk about itself and its peers in the example above, but you can ask it to research absolutely anything! Head over to Copilot and try it out for yourself – just remember to use its “precise” mode if you want the most reliable answers!Microsoft Copilot is a capable research assistant, but that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to ways in which you can use it to aid your business. If you would like to learn more about Copilot and the ways in which it can benefit your organisation, please contact us via the form on our contact page.

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