Top Stories

Microsoft Adds Copilot AI Assistants to Teams and SharePoint

Microsoft is enlarging its family of generative Copilots, introducing new AI assistants in its collaborative Teams and SharePoint platforms. Team Copilot expands Copilot beyond the sphere of personal assistant, empowering it to work on behalf of a team with the goal of improving collaboration and project management. Team Copilot will have agents that provide the ability to orchestrate and automate business processes, as well as extensions and connectors designed to make it easy to tailor and extend Copilot to meet specific business needs. Copilot is also launching in preview for all Azure customers. Read more

Amazon to Upgrade Alexa with AI, May Add Subscription Fee

Amazon is planning to add generative artificial intelligence to its decade-old voice assistant, Alexa, which will require a monthly fee to offset the cost of the technology, according to reports. Although the new Alexa price plan has not been disclosed, it is not expected to be included in the $139 yearly Amazon Prime plan. The possible move comes as Apple is also undergoing an AI overhaul of its voice assistant, Siri. Once considered precocious by many consumers, Siri and Alexa are now playing catch-up to AI assistants from leaders in the space including Google, Microsoft and OpenAI. Read more

Global Technology Companies Sign Pledge to Foster AI Safety

Leading AI firms spanning Europe, Asia, North America and the Middle East have signed a new voluntary commitment to AI safety. The 16 signatory companies — including Amazon, Google DeepMind, Meta Platforms, Microsoft, OpenAI, xAI and China’s Zhipu AI — will publish outlines indicating how they will measure the risks posed by their frontier models. “In the extreme, leading AI tech companies including from China and the UAE have committed to not develop or deploy AI models if the risks cannot be sufficiently mitigated,” according to UK Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan. Read more

Microsoft Upgrades Azure AI Stack, Previews Cobalt 100 VMs

Microsoft is implementing a series of upgrades to its AI stack, including Azure AI Studio and Copilot Studio, developer platforms for building apps that leverage generative AI. At its Build 2024 conference, the company also announced it is going into preview with its Azure virtual machines (VMs), the first platform to use the powerful Arm-based Cobalt 100 cloud processors developed by Microsoft, which shared that plan at its November Ignite conference. Other Build highlights include the general availability of OpenAI’s new GPT-4o flagship model across the Azure OpenAI Service and the new multimodal Phi-3-vision SLM. Read more

Autodesk Buys Wonder Dynamics, AI VFX App Wonder Studio

Autodesk is going all-in on artificial intelligence with the acquisition of AI startup Wonder Dynamics, maker of the Wonder Studio VFX tool. Autodesk — whose products include Maya, 3ds Max and Flame — worked with Wonder on a Maya plug-in last year and appears to have been impressed. Wonder Studio was purpose-built to be compatible with 3D tools like Maya, largely automating the process of putting 3D characters within live-action scenes. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, and Autodesk did not detail plans for integrating Wonder Dynamics, but it’s likely the company’s AI expertise will make itself felt across the portfolio. Read more

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