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No Jitter Roll: Microsoft Summarized Key Updates in the New Teams which includes Copilot Support, Snowflake Provides LLM and AI Access, and the Partnership on AI Releases a Framework for Safe Model Deployment

Welcome to this week’s No Jitter Roll, our regular roundup of product news in the communication and collaboration spaces. This week, NJR highlights: Microsoft's updates to its new Teams app, which serves as the foundation for Copilot support; Snowflake's new Cortex managed service provides customers with access to LLMs and AI models; and the Partnership on AI's invites public comment on its framework for safe AI model deployment.

What’s New in Microsoft Teams: October 2023

In its monthly update of new features and enhancements, Microsoft highlighted the general availability of the new Microsoft Teams platform experience for Windows and Mac, and added new functions and features.

  • For example, Meet is a new feature within the new Teams that centralizes meeting prep and catch-up activities. It provides a single view of upcoming and recent meetings as well as enabling the discovery of meeting content like chats, files, agendas, and shared documents.
  • The new Channels experience features a conversation view, a revamped compose box, a streamlined information pane, and an enhanced in-channel search experience.
  • The new People app in Teams syncs Outlook contacts across all Microsoft 365 apps and devices.
  • Finally, the new Teams platform is the foundation for Microsoft 365 Copilot in Teams. According to Microsoft, Copilot in Teams can be manually accessed by pressing the Copilot button on the chat header.

Want to know more?

Check out No Jitter’s extensive coverage of Microsoft 365 Copilot in these articles:

Snowflake Cortex Provides Customer Access to Large Language and AI Models

The data cloud solution provider announced Snowflake Cortex, its new managed service that gives customers access to large language models (LLMs) such as Meta AI’s Llama 2 model, task-specific models, and vector search functionality (a way to search and analyze data with machine learning). Some of the functions provided by Cortex include:

  • Specialized Functions (in private preview): For any given input text, these models can detect sentiment, extract an answer, summarize the text, and translate it to a selected language. Specialized functions also include Snowflake’s existing machine learning-powered functions, including forecasting (generally available soon), anomaly detection (generally available soon), contribution explorer (public preview), and classification (private preview soon).
  • General-Purpose Functions (private preview): A set of conversational functions that leverage open source LLMs, including Meta’s Llama 2 and Snowflake LLMs (in private preview soon).

Snowflake also announced new LLM-powered experiences built on Snowflake Cortex as the underlying service. These include three offerings currently in private preview: Snowflake Copilot, which brings generative AI-powered natural language to Snowflake coding tasks; Universal Search, which uses LLM-powered search to find data more quickly; and Document AI, which helps enterprises use LLMs to extract content like invoice amounts or contractual terms from documents.

Atento Launches Microsoft's Generative AI Solution

The global provider of customer relationship management and business process outsourcing (CRM/BPO) services has adopted the Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service and used it to create a “pilot” for its customer service agents -- i.e., a digital assistant. For example, their implementation supports agents during a call by searching for data in the company's systems such as information about the client, the product, etc., writing the formalization messages (discussed below), and making records in the systems. Atento's solution will also help the agent customize answers during the interaction depending on what the customer is saying. “The solution works together with the agent to make everything more agile,” Atento said.

The solution will also manage the entire customer interaction. For example, Atento uses the term "system formalization" to describe the process in which the AI sends a message with what has been agreed upon during the call with the customer, as well as the status of the process until its completion. As an example: "Your request has been received and the protocol number is xxxxx, your request is being analyzed, your process has been approved, etc.". 

Atento also said that Microsoft's collaboration was "fundamental to curate the taxonomy and calibration of the tool, which continues to be constantly learned." In addition, Microsoft's Power Automate solution integrated legacy systems, reduced manual effort and helped optimize response time. "In practice, this meant a 30% increase in team productivity and a reduction of almost 20% in operational errors," Atento said.

Data security, privacy, and compliance were key aspects in the development of the solution. With the capabilities of Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service, information is anonymized and data is kept within Atento's environment and under the company's domain, adhering to all confidentiality standards. 

Partnership on AI Releases Guidance for Safe Foundation Model Deployment

The non-profit community of academic, civil society, industry, and media organizations released for public comment its “Safe Foundation Model Deployment.” The proposed framework for AI developers and customers provides:

  • Categorization of model capability tiers and release type definitions.
  • Recommendations for specific model and release types, with best practices throughout the deployment lifecycle meant to boost transparency.
  • Identifying AI risks from the foundation models and risks that can arise downstream during development.

PAI’s Model Deployment Guidance “bridges different outlooks on risks among the AI scientific and ethics communities. This helps model providers ensure the safety of society as a whole while balancing the need for a variety of models to be deployed for user choice, innovation, and scientific advancement through both open and restricted release approaches,” said Madhulika Srikumar, Lead for AI Safety, Partnership on AI.

Want to know more?

AI guidance and regulation has been in the headlines recently. Check out Martha Buyer’s take on the Biden Administration’s executive order on AI Guidelines. This link will bring you to the English version of the proposed EU AI law. According to an October 25, 2023 report in Reuters, European Union lawmakers have “inched closer to a broader agreement on [their] landmark AI Act.”

This Week on No Jitter

In case you missed them, here are some of our top stories:

  • Generative AI: Who Gets It?: As companies roll out their digital assistants, with their promises of enhancing productivity and improving workloads, we’ll see which jobs benefit most from AI
  • Addressing Government Employees' Collaboration Needs: At any level of government from local to national, any department’s or administration’s success requires addressing security, compliance, and reliability needs
  • Cisco Webex Expands Contact Center Portfolio: At WebexOne, Cisco Webex announced CX Basic and CX Essentials to complement their existing Contact Center platform while demonstrating how AI is incorporated within their CCaaS offering.