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At today’s Build 2023 conference, Microsoft announced a huge set of updates and new initiatives to help developers build AI.
The exhaustive list of updates is supported by an effort by Microsoft to enable any organization to build their own AI co-pilots. Microsoft began building out its AI copilot efforts with GitHub Copilot in 2021, and now it wants to dramatically expand the copilot landscape.
As part of the push, Microsoft announced new plugin capabilities for its Co-Pilot services that enable greater extensibility of AI to connect with different services. The new Azure AI Studio service will help developers build and deploy co-pilots and will also use the new Azure AI catalog model that will include open source and closed source models.
Not the platforms; what do developers do with them
Copilot’s capabilities will also be enhanced with Azure machine learning (ML) prompt flow technology to help create complex prompt chains for AI workflows. Additionally, Microsoft targets responsible AI with the introduction of the Azure AI content security service.
During a keynote session at Build, Microsoft CTO Kevin Scott couldn’t contain his excitement about what the new AI capabilities will help developers do. Scott said that what makes platforms great isn’t the underlying infrastructure, it’s the things that developers and people do with the platforms.
“We have capabilities in our hands with these new tools in the early days of this new platform to do absolutely amazing things,” Scott said. “Literally the challenge for all of you is to go do something legendary so that someone will be in awe of you one day.”
Everyone needs a co-pilot, and now anyone can build one
During his keynote address, Scott gave a master class on what a co-pilot is and how to build one.
“A co-pilot, simply put, is an application that uses modern AI that has a conversational interface that helps you with cognitive tasks,” Scott said.
A copilot is not a single API call or piece of technology; rather, it’s a stack of technologies that work together to enable the full experience. Scott explained that a key part of the copilot stack in the frontend is plugin extensibility. Plugins are part of OpenAI’s ChatGPT and will now also be a core part of Microsoft’s copilot stack.
“Plugins are going to be one of those powerful mechanisms that you use to enhance a co-pilot or AI application so that it can do more than the base platform allows you to do,” Scott said. “The way we think about these plugins is that they’re almost like actuators to the digital world, so anything you can imagine doing digitally, you can connect a co-pilot to those things through plugins.”
Go with the flow (fast)
As part of his keynote address, Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of Microsoft’s cloud and AI group, detailed Azure’s new AI study offering, which enables organizations to base AI models on their own data.
“This allows you to create your own co-pilot experiences that are specific to your applications and organizations,” Guthrie said.
Based on the data, a key part of Microsoft’s co-pilot stack is Azure’s new machine learning fast-flow technology. Guthrie explained that an important part of AI orchestration is the rapid engineering process. This involves building the ad and meta ad that drives the AI model to produce a stronger and more specific response to the user.
“Prompt Flow provides end-to-end AI development tools that support rapid build, orchestration, test evaluation, and deployment, and makes it incredibly easy to leverage open source tools and frameworks like semantic kernel and LangChain (in Python) to build their AI solution as well,” Guthrie said.
As developers and organizations look to build AI co-pilots, there is also a need for security and protection. Guthrie stressed that AI security is not an optional feature, it is a requirement.
“You need to design with security in mind from the start,” Guthrie said. “The Azure AI content security service now provides the same technologies we use to build our own Microsoft co-pilot experiences, so you can also benefit from all the learnings we’ve had in terms of ensuring our products are secure. and protected. ”
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