Productive Meetings – Microsoft Takes us Closer to Actualizing an Oxymoron

Meetings have traditionally been met with mixed reactions from participants, particularly in organizational settings. The main gripe being that they are often inefficient drudgery. With the introduction of AI-enabled efficiency tools and actions, Microsoft has finally addressed large parts of the problem, and may have contributed to overcoming criticisms and lamentations that meetings tend to generate.

Image: AI generated notes, tasks, and highlights from meeting

Microsoft has steadily been accelerating their investment in AI and its integration into their range of product offerings. Their recent investment of $10B in OpenAI has been the most visible and declarative of their intent to build AI in almost everything they develop.

Back in July 2019, Microsoft bet on OpenAI with an investment of $1B, at the early stage of AI development. And in 2020, they developed a supercomputer for OpenAI, with more than 285,000 CPU cores, 10,000 GPUs, and 400 gigabits per second of network connectivity for each GPU server – a computing behemoth. Over the year, Microsoft has remained focused and steadfast in ramping up their investment in what they rightfully consider to the next tech frontier.

Having recently integrated AI (the ubiquitous ChatGPT) with search in Microsoft’s Bing (intriguing, even worrisome, early glitches aside) the company is rolling out more AI integrations throughout their product offerings. The latest may very well be the most impressive to date.

Microsoft’s integration of OpenAI’s GPT-3.5 AI language module (the one that powers the uber popular ChatGPT) into their Microsoft Teams Premium heralds a slew of imaginative and productive features that make meeting outcomes truly useful.

The big new AI-enabled feature in Microsoft Teams Premium is Intelligent Recap. It features AI-generated notes, tasks, meeting sections (or chapters), personalzed timeline markers, and a number of other tools. Meeting confidentially protection measures are also incorporated.

In the future, one can reasonably expect to see even more productivity features such as AI-generated file suggestions, email drafts, and even draft project plans & timelines – all gleaned from meeting discussions.

The year 2023 is looking to become an inflection point for AI development and adoption. Microsoft looks like its straddling the initial curve intelligently. How long they continue to do that, and what competitors have in the offing will be quite enterprising.