Copilot moves the cheese

Copilot moves the cheese

With the announcement of Microsoft 365 Copilot last week, it looks as if the writing is on the wall. Pack it up and get ready to go home, your job will soon belong to the machine. On first impression, these tools look like they can perform miracles. Some of the time they can.

Microsoft's Copilot: A whole new way to work.
Microsoft’s Copilot: A whole new way to work.

Microsoft Copilot in Teams promises to let you stop paying attention in meetings. Copilot in Outlook will let you turn bullet points into formal emails. Copilot in Word will let you stretch work in one document across dozens of new ones. AI will let you get through your day by doing less and look brilliant while you do.

However no matter how impressive these tools are, you need to remember that at the end of the day, it’s people that will use and consume what is created by the machines. That means it’s people who find where these tools don’t go far enough.

If, for example, you’re using Dynamics 365 Copilot in Power Platform to build a business process automation you might say:

Even though AI will fix the issue, it’s important to observe that in this process it’s still people who are finding the problems in the first place.

As anyone who has ever started from an idea and built a project knows, building something is always more complicated than it seems at the start. Maybe the accounting department shouldn’t get notified every time? Maybe there are certain rules around the workflow? These details can be hard to know at the start of any project.

What Copilot will do is make it clear that finding the problems is the work. If the machines can build the solutions, those who find the problems are the ones creating the most value.

I was a computer “hacker” in the 1990s. I mean this in the purest sense of the word in that I enjoyed (and still enjoy) spending my time finding new ways to make computers do things they aren’t supposed to be able to do. Not with criminal intent, but for the challenge of it. With AI bringing tremendous new capabilities to build tools, it is the ones who know ask the right questions that will make the best use of it. It’s the curious who stand the gain the most.

Smart people who know how to find the faults will stay employed. If this describes you, your job is safe. The “hackers” will rise to the top.

The key to staying employed and generating wealth in this new world is finding the problems that AI can’t see.

However, no matter how good you are with technology, you are still navigating in a world run by people.

The real question then becomes:

Nick Hance
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I'm a software project rescue specialist who has been rescuing failed software systems since 1999. President of Reenhanced.
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