Over the past three years, nearly everything about work has changed. The dimensions that define the way we work—space and time—went from being fixed to flexible. This new flexibility has opened up new options for when and where we work—synchronously or asynchronously, in the office, or remotely. But with that greater flexibility has come greater complexity. There’s more information and communication than ever, but there’s also too much of both. We’re beset by drudgery—the work about work that always feels like it’s getting in the way of the deep work that creates real value. We don’t just need a better way of doing the same things. We need a whole new way of working.

This next-generation AI will transform work and augment human capabilities in three ways: It will unleash creativity. It will unlock productivity. And it will uplevel skills.


With next-generation AI, the possibilities for invention and expression expand. Instead of starting with a blank page, we can chat with AI to generate options—ideas for a speech; a rough draft of a white paper; or multiple versions of a customer presentation.

One question was posed to ChatGPT – a general artificial intelligence (AI) language model that can generate original content in response to a user’s topic: “Write the opening paragraph of an article about how AI generates How transformation will work for the business.”

ChatGPT’s response was as follows: “The rise of AI has the potential to be a big game changer for businesses. This technology enables the creation of original content by learning from existing data, potentially revolutionizing industries and transforming the way companies operate. By enabling the automation of many tasks previously performed by humans, generalized AI has the potential to increase efficiency and productivity, reduce costs, and open up new growth opportunities. As such, businesses that can effectively leverage technology have the potential to gain a significant competitive advantage.”

Not perfect, but very impressive achievements. This doesn’t make AI a substitute for human capabilities. Instead, it augments them, enabling an entirely new way of working.

One way to frame creative collaboration with AI is to think of the person in the human-AI interaction as the gardener. We plant the seed of an idea through a prompt to a natural language interface. Chatting with the AI to help the work bloom, we arrive at a higher quality output faster than was possible before. That’s because we spent less time generating the raw material and more time applying the best of our knowledge and insight. With AI as our creative generator, we can apply the full force of our human ingenuity to our work.

AI is like… A large language model can be an “infinitely patient explainer,” says Microsoft Deputy CTO Sam Schillace. It’s like an instruction manual that you actually use: ask anything, from how to use the new expense tool to the ins and outs of your marketing director’s brand strategy, and it will parse a topic at just the level you need (and never get frustrated with your follow-ups).

“The traditional notion of productivity, where humans do the bulk of the work and rely on computers for the final step, has been flipped,” says Sumit Chauhan, corporate vice president of the Office Product Group at Microsoft.

“Now, AI can take on the time-consuming and tedious tasks, freeing me up for more creative thinking and endeavors,” she says. “This means I can be more productive and tackle more high-level tasks without getting bogged down in drudgery.”

Get a head start on quality—so you can spend time where it matters.

When our creativity is unleashed, we’re likely to feel more fulfilled as well. In a Microsoft survey of more than 4,000 employees and business decision-makers, 89 percent of those who had access to automation and AI-powered tools said they felt more fulfilled because they could spend time on work that really matters.

“Humans yearn to dream, to innovate, to create. Ambition is not dead, but it’s tired because we’re weighed down by so much data and information, and by the drudgery of work,” says Colette Stallbaumer, general manager of Microsoft 365 and the Future of Work. “I believe AI will help free us to do the work that matters.”

To truly focus on the work that matters most, we must first confront information overload—a challenge that only feels more acute in the hybrid era. AI has a powerful part to play here too. The big problem at the heart of information overload is relevance. Everyone is inundated with data and information, but only a small sliver of that information contains something that a specific individual needs to know or points to a specific task that person needs to complete. Buried amid a mountain of data is the information we can’t afford to miss.

With AI, we can unearth what matters in minutes. “This is going to take away the shallow work so that humans can do the deep work that we really crave.Nate Boaz VP of People Strategy at Microsoft

That way, everyone can access the power of these capabilities, including developers who lack specialized machine-learning skills or individuals without a technical background.

Example: We’ll also be able to use natural language to distill a week’s worth of emails down to just the salient points—and AI can summarize, remix, and personalize the information in ways that are more useful than ever. Take meetings. Few things in life feel as wasteful as time spent in a meeting you didn’t need to attend. Now, we’ll be able to use AI-powered tools to not just summarize a day’s worth of meetings but highlight and share what’s relevant to a given individual or team.

Innovative AI promises to make 2023 one of the most exciting years for AI. As these technologies become part of the everyday workflow of individuals and organizations, the world could see a productivity boom on par with the most significant technological disruptions in history.

AI is like scissors: one blade is cognition and the other is context. Focusing solely on the technology’s cognitive power, says Microsoft design and AI executive John Maeda, belies the importance of its context—what it knows about the world from the data that goes into it. Only when paired together, he says, are the blades really powerful.

Business applications are in the early stages of scaling, but experts are already starting to see first uses across functional groups, including:

  • Marketing and Retail: Develop marketing, social, and merchandising assets (including text, images, and video); create assistants tailored to specific businesses
  • Functional department: Create a task list to efficiently perform a certain activity
  • Information Technology/Engineering: Write, document, and review code
  • Risk and legal: Answer complex questions, consult a wide range of legal documents, and draft and review annual reports.
  • R&D: Accelerate drug research and development by better-understanding diseases, diseases, and chemical structure analysis.

Think of AI as the ultimate tool for prototyping, even for work outside our own skillsets. It makes your writing better, even as it makes you a better writer. While many of us have access to powerful productivity tools, we tend to use just a fraction of their capabilities. New AI technology gives us access to the full computational capabilities of Microsoft Excel and the limitless design potential of PowerPoint. AI can help us with the work we find most difficult so we can get back to the work we love. All we have to do is ask.

AI is like… Just as a TI-84 bolsters our math calculations, AI will be like a calculator for writing, says Stanford economist and AI expert Erik Brynjolfsson. Input the ingredients—keywords, documents, relevant emails—ask for what you want, and hit enter for an answer. You’ll offload the rote, routine writing tasks and get support to do higher-level work.

“AI is going to adapt to each individual,” says Jon Friedman, corporate vice president of design and research at Microsoft. “It’s going to help bring teams together to work better together. It’s going to give everyone a superpower they’ve never had before.”

In the process, AI has the potential to democratize innovation. No longer constrained by a lack of skills outside their areas of competency or expertise, people are more likely to be limited only by the quality of their ideas.

AI, in effect, becomes a way to “upskill,” says Avi Goldfarb, a professor at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management who specializes in the impact of AI on business and the economy. “The long-term gain of upskilling potentially millions of people is what’s so exciting with these technologies,” Goldfarb says. In this way, AI at scale benefits not just the individual or the organization but society as a whole.

error: Content is protected !!