AI is delightfully commonplace
When you think of Artificial Intelligence (AI), you might picture robots and far-fetched sci-fi dreams. But chances are, you are already using AI every day — perhaps without even realizing it.
Three ways AI has crept into our lives
- Personal assistants: whether you are using a device or on your phone, they are learning about you and suggesting ways to make your life easier
- Shopping recommendations: Know how you were considering buying something online, then saw advertisements of it in your social media feed later? That’s AI at work
- Chatbots: Getting answers to what you want might be getting easier, if the company you need service from has a chatbot who can answer your questions with speed and accuracy
Three common tasks getting a boost from AI
While the tech companies and app developers of the world look for ways to make your life easier with AI, new tools are appearing in popular software — and solving all sorts of problems.
Nearly everyone uses presentations to share their ideas and plans with others.
Whether you are in the classroom or the office, AI in Microsoft PowerPoint is improving everyone’s presentations. With slide design for example, the AI can suggest suitable artwork for your slides, so they look even more appealing visually, based on the text you’ve put in.
To add a little spice to your slides, you can convert ink drawings or handwritten scribbles to shapes or text. AI recognizes what you are trying to do and offers you fully realized options like a perfect circle from your lopsided loop.
Once your slides are picture perfect, you are ready to present. Let’s say to your overseas colleagues, and at the last minute you discover that not all of them speak English. No worries, AI is there to help.
While you are at the head of the conference room, PowerPoint can listen to what you are saying, caption it in English on screen and translate to the language of your choice — in real time. Abilities like that can not only impress your audience, but also make your workplace more inclusive.
And the AI doesn’t only help you onsite. The Presenter Coach function can help you deliver an impactful presentation every time. As the name suggests, this AI feature coaches you while you’re rehearsing, providing on-screen guidance for pacing, inclusive language and filler words. At the end of each rehearsal session, you’re given a detailed report that includes metrics for additional practice. The AI is literally a guru just for you.
Video conferencing or video chat is another common part of life, especially as remote working and the gig economy becomes more popular. Seeing someone’s face, even if they are thousands of miles away, offers a deeper level of communication. But if you’re dialing in from home, or some random location, you might be worried about what shows up behind you. You probably never thought about blurring out the background.
Using AI and facial recognition, Microsoft Teams can do just that. So, your colleagues can see your professional image without seeing the clutter you just haven’t had time to put away. Another life saver.
Perhaps the lifeblood of office functions. Email has been around forever but continues to evolve.
It’s adapting to our social media lifestyle. You can connect Microsoft Outlook to your LinkedIn profile and email first degree contacts directly from there, just by typing their name in the To line. Even if you don’t know their email address.
Outlook saves time emailing back and forth by automatically finding and booking the best meeting room based on what it has learned about attendees, time, availability, and other preferences.
For those who still can’t attend, Microsoft Stream provides a searchable, time-coded transcript where they can easily find and action relevant items.
And as you go about your business, Microsoft MyAnalytics works like a fitness tracker for work. It keeps up with the time you spend in various tasks; emailing, meetings, working on documents, and summarizes how much focused work you’ve been able to do. It also gives you insights and tips on how to improve. You can access the info via a dashboard or opt to receive it as a weekly email.
It’s only going to get better
The scope of AI will gradually expand as new functionality is added and the machine learning capability embedded within these tools accumulates more information about our needs. The beauty of AI is that it learns and improves over time, enhancing your everyday life bit by bit.