How one company's employees use Microsoft Copilot to avoid the worst part of meetings

Could the best use for generative AI turn out to be startlingly mundane? At this company, employees love their Copilot for a very simple reason.
Written by Chris Matyszczyk, Contributing Writer
Microsoft Teams and Copilot



Amid the fears that AI will take over, well, everything, perhaps it's worth considering where the supposed takeover may start.

And where, indeed, it might even be useful.

Also: AI taking on more work doesn't mean it replaces you. Here are 12 reasons to worry less

Ever since Microsoft Copilot emerged with a rush of promises, I've wondered where it might be most easily embraced. 

One of Microsoft's first suggestions was that you treat it as a friend, while you wander through life entirely alone. It was, in its way, persuasive.

Yet what role is Copilot already playing in everyday business functions?

Currently, some selected companies are testing Copilot to see if it brings them, well, benefits. It's easy to be enchanted by AI, but sometimes harder to see whether it can make an active, accurate contribution to company efficiency and -- who knows? -- perhaps even profits.

I was moved, then, to learn of the early reactions of one organization: Amadeus. The renowned travel software company seems to have found a vast benefit in perhaps one of the most unsung areas of business life.

As Frederick Ros, Amadeus's head of digital workplace services, told Skift: "There is no organization in the world that is really super good at taking notes of meetings."

Also: 7 reasons I use Copilot instead of ChatGPT

This may be partly because no human being in any organization wants to take notes of meetings. It's a particular form of torture, one that involves not only accurate reporting but political nuances. If one of your bosses says something ineffably ignorant, do you report that? And if so, how?

If you know that a piece of technology is doing the notetaking, perhaps that notetaking will feel more accurate and precise. More honest, too.

There's an additional problem, as Ros confirmed: "It's always difficult to have somebody focusing on what is said and taking notes instead of being part of the discussion."

Enter Copilot, doing something a truly helpful companion -- and employee -- should.  

Also: Microsoft unveils seven new AI features to level up your meetings

"With this kind of technology, it's much more efficient," said Ros.

If every participant in a meeting is truly an active participant, it might just make a (small) difference to company profits. It also avoids the designated human note-taker from mumbling to themselves: "Why me? Just because I'm Gen Z?"

Ros insists that the vast underswell of the company wants Copilot to become a permanent, as it were, member of the staff. To that end, Amadeus is training its employees to understand not only what AI can do, but how it works.

Some of the other Copilot benefits the company sees may, to some, be a touch more questionable. For example, "Suggesting draft text for an email based on the context of the employee's job."

Also: The best note-taking tablets: Tested and reviewed

Or: "Summarizing long threads of chat between coworkers, which is particularly helpful for those who join a chat late."

I feel more confident when AI is restricted to providing objective assistance, rather than potentially more subjective, proactive editing. 

Draft text? Hmm, perhaps better if the employee writes with their own personality, rather than a bot's pre-programmed view of what text should sound like. Is it really healthy if every email sounds just the same? Think of how many more "Hi. I hope you're well" emails you might get.

Equally, summarizing a chat might allow the bot to miss something that's actually important, something the participants all forgot. How the bot is taught and the information on which it's trained is somewhat vital here.

Yet one of the greatest joys of good technology is how it can successfully eliminate particular elements of life that humans uniformly find tedious and even time-wasting.

It's worth taking note of that.

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