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Copilot Tech Shines at Build 2023 As Microsoft Morphs into an AI Company

"In a few weeks times, we'll hold our Build conference, and we will share how we are building the most powerful AI platform for developers and I encourage you to tune in. I could not be more energized about the opportunities ahead."

That's how Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella ended his opening statement in a financial quarterly earnings call this week. He mentioned AI in the first paragraph and the last paragraph and in many in-between, 12 times in total. Copilot -- the chosen moniker for Microsoft AI, borrowed from GitHub Copilot -- was mentioned 11 times, according to a call transcript published by Seeking Alpha.

If there was any doubt about it, Microsoft is quickly becoming an AI company. That's largely thanks to its prescient multi-billion-dollar investments into advanced generative AI pioneer OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT and GPT-4, the latter being a supercharged large language model (LLM) whose tech is being infused into a wide swath of Microsoft products and services.

That matters most to developers, of course, and they are in for an AI treat of all the information and guidance they can consume at the company's big developer conference, Microsoft Build 2023, kicking off in Seattle on May 23.

[Click on image for larger view.] Microsoft Build 2023 (source: Microsoft).

And, of course, AI will be featured heavily by Nadella in his opening keynote address, for which the Build site says: "Join Satya Nadella live in person as he kicks off our opening keynote featuring Kevin Scott and Scott Guthrie, exploring the new era of the AI copilot and how Microsoft and OpenAI's full stack AI platform, fueled by Azure, powers the development of next-gen AI apps and tools. Focused on GitHub Copilot, Azure OpenAI, Microsoft Cloud platform, and much more."

So there goes your proof on Microsoft's AI transformation. At Microsoft it used to be all Azure, all the time, kind of like "Azure is the answer. What's the question?" Now Azure is relegated to third-place billing behind Copilot and OpenAI. A $10 billion-plus investment buys a company a lot of AI.

With all of the astounding recent AI advances, it might be surprising to be reminded that the "new era of the AI copilot" mentioned above by Nadella began with a technical preview in June 2021, resulting in GitHub Copilot reaching general availability for $10 per month only about 10 months ago.

As Microsoft owns GitHub, it got first dibs on using Copilot tech in its own products, just like it got early access to OpenAI's other groundbreaking offerings that are based on the GPT- series of LLMs. From Microsoft 365 to the as-yet unreleased Microsoft Security Copilot, the company's offerings are getting an AI makeover. It's all wrapped up in this article, "AI & IT: What's Up with Microsoft Copilot? A Q&A with Brien Posey."

So it's no surprise Copilot is featured heavily at Build. Just take a look at this sampling of presentations:

And those are just sessions that have "Copilot" in the title. The full AI list goes on ... and on, to the tune of nearly 90 sessions with "AI" in the title.

So Microsoft-centric developers had better get their Build schedules set pretty soon, as the in-person AI events might just fill up. Fortunately, along with the in-person sessions in Seattle, the three-day conference has a corresponding online schedule of digital sessions. Many of those Copilot-themed presentations listed above are offered online also, though some are in-person only.

No doubt there are some devs out there using ChatGPT or a similar AI construct to plan their Build schedule.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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