Published May 28 2024

TechWeek NZ has once again led the charge in fostering key conversations about technology across New Zealand. 

This year, our focus sharpened on Microsoft 365 Copilot, exploring its impact and integration into modern workplaces through a series of three insightful webinars. Guided by our Copilot champion, Makho Moyo, these sessions delved deep into the practical and ethical dimensions of AI technologies.

During the webinars, we observed a number of recurring themes and concerns about AI and Copilot. Let’s dive a bit deeper into some of those key points:

1. Ethics and Bias in AI Tools

One major area of discussion was the ethics and bias associated with AI tools like Copilot. While we don’t have detailed specifics on how Copilot directly addresses these issues, we want to share some of Microsoft’s guiding principles. Microsoft emphasises that AI development and deployment should adhere to a robust ethical framework, guided by six core principles: fairness, reliability & safety, privacy & security, inclusiveness, transparency, and accountability.

Let’s take a closer look at the principles that apply to Ethics and Bias:

  • Fairness: AI systems should treat everyone equitably and avoid bias.
  • Inclusiveness: AI technologies can significantly benefit the 1 billion people with disabilities worldwide by ensuring designs are inclusive.
  • Transparency & accountability: Understanding how AI systems function and holding designers accountable ensures that AI operates safely and effectively.

For more detailed information, you can visit Microsoft’s AI principles page.

2. Understanding Microsoft Copilot Tiers

There was some confusion about the different Copilot offerings from Microsoft. Here’s a simplified breakdown:

  • Free Version: Accessible to everyone in the Microsoft Edge Browser, offering basic generative search capabilities similar to the free version of ChatGPT.
  • E3/E5 License Holders: Provides secure, commercial data-protected search capabilities in Microsoft Edge. It not in any of your M365 apps such as word, excel or Teams. You don’t get any of the really high value functions. It’s once again basically chat GPT, except now all your searches are secure with commercial data protection. This makes it better than using Chat GPT as your data is kept safe and secure.
  • Specific Copilot M365 Licensing: Unlocks advanced functionalities in M365 apps like summarising, document creation, data analysis, meeting recaps, and intelligent organisational data integration.

3. Addressing AI Hallucinations

A common concern was the potential for AI to generate incorrect or inaccurate information as factual information (hallucinations), particularly when conducting research. A common fear was that it would take just as long to verify the data provided as it would to perform the research in the first place. It’s important to remember that while Copilot (or any other AI for that matter) can sometimes produce errors (which is why we need to verify outputs from AI), Copilot includes references to the sources it has used, which can be clicked on to quickly verify the validity of those sources.
This feature significantly reduces the time required to verify information compared to conducting research manually.

We hope the insights gained from the webinars will be valuable in your continued exploration and implementation of AI in your workplace.

Missed one of our TechWeek webinars? Watch online now.

Like what you see?

It’s clear that Copilot is going to change everything. It’s a powerful and innovative tool that can help you enhance your creativity, productivity, and skilling. Make sure that you embrace this new technology now to help you become the all singing, all dancing, leading performer you aways wanted to be – the stage is yours…

If you’re excited by the possibility of Copilot but not sure where to start, let our team of Modern Workplace experts guide you every step of the way. We have designed a range of services that cover everything from establishing a solid business case for M365 Copilot, through to identifying the most impactful business scenarios, to modernising your technical landscape, and driving high adoption.

Chat to us today, and transform your organisation with your everyday AI companion.

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About the author

Makho is an experienced certified consultant at Engage Squared with 8+ years’ in the tech industry working with various technology solutions. He has a passion for learning new solutions and is particularly fascinated with Artificial Intelligence, leading him to becoming one of the AI champions for Engage Squared. He enjoys providing people with transformational ways of working and recognizing the value added. Outside of work, Makho enjoys taking to the skies and piloting light sport aircraft 

Ready to explore what’s possible with Copilot for Microsoft 365?