5 Big Highlights from Microsoft Build 2023
The annual conference for developers and those otherwise inclined is going on this week: Microsoft Build 2023. It’s hosted in Seattle and is available for attendees online as well, from May 23-25. This year is particularly salient with the new advancements in artificial intelligence and Microsoft’s partnering with OpenAI. If you aren’t able to attend but still want to know the biggest news, we have it here for you! Here’s a handful of our favorite announcements from Microsoft Build 2023.
Microsoft Fabric is being called the biggest innovation for data since SQL. It’s a foundation that unifies all the Microsoft analytics workloads, combining Power BI, Data Factory and Synapse into a comprehensive Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering. It puts together data integration, engineering & warehousing with real-time analytics and business intelligence, all boosted with AI. Fabric also allows for persistent data governance and integrates seamlessly with Microsoft 365 and Teams. This new framework solution is in preview now.
Microsoft 365 Copilot & AI Plugins
Soon Microsoft’s new AI tool Copilot will be integrated into Fabric as well, enabling natural language and chat experiences as well as low-code/no-code developing capabilities. As Microsoft puts it, “customers can focus on telling the right data story and let Copilot do the heavy lifting.” Microsoft 365 Copilot (in preview) is a large language model workhorse that assists you across your apps, doing the grunt work that you ask it to with natural language prompts. For more on this embedded AI helper, check out the keynote on the era of Copilot.
You can integrate apps and services into Copilot with plugins, too (in private preview now). Start off with ChatGPT and Bing plugins, and there will be over 50 partner plugins as part of an early access program. Thousands more will be offered by the time Copilot is generally available. There’s even a preview version of Semantic Kernel’s VS Code Extension, which can debug AI plugins so developers can write and test their own AI functions.
With all this AI integration and the industry’s rush to adopt it, it’s important to operate with transparency and in keeping with ethical standards. Microsoft Designer and Bing Image Creator will have media provenance features that disclose whether an image or video was created with AI. Similar to the methods in Project Origin, which create a digital “chain of trust” between media’s creation and viewing, media provenance uses cryptography to sign AI-generated content with metadata that ultimately reveals to users the source of what they are viewing.
Azure AI Content Safety
Another helpful tool for the safe use of AI is a new service in Azure AI that detects hate, violence, sexual or self-harmful content in both text and images. It flags content and assigns it a severity score for human moderators to review. Language or text that doesn’t meet content safety standards is removed. Azure AI Content Safety, in preview now, will be integrated across Microsoft products including Azure Machine Learning Prompt Flow.
Prompt Flow helps those working with machine learning to do so responsibly and efficiently by incorporating evaluation throughout the model lifecycle. You can create prompt workflows that assess the quality of prompts and help you choose the best one for a particular use case. It also allows you to quickly tune and optimize prompts. With this feature prompt engineering becomes simpler and more streamlined, from design to development. Prompt Flow isn’t quite in preview yet but will be soon—see more details about it here.
More from Microsoft Build 2023
There’s still much more to explore at Microsoft Build 2023! The event’s still live and featuring sessions on specific tools as well as broader discussions like creator tech tips and the future of app development. Since AI will likely make this future much more inclusive, anyone with a general interest in these trends can find much to learn. Head on over to the conference website to view sessions, or contact us to find out how you can start incorporating these innovative features into your work environment.
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