More Everything With AI

From the announcement blog post for Microsoft 365 Copilot:

You can give it natural language prompts like “Tell my team how we updated the product strategy,” and it will generate a status update based on the morning’s meetings, emails and chat threads.

With Copilot, you’re always in control. You decide what to keep, modify or discard. Now, you can be more creative in Word, more analytical in Excel, more expressive in PowerPoint, more productive in Outlook and more collaborative in Teams.

That’s an interesting marketing pitch: AI will make you more creative, more analytical, more expressive, more productive, more collaborative.

There’s trade-offs here. In my experience, having someone write a synthesis for me is skipping the work. Writing the synthesis is the work. Creating a synthesis for dissemination is but the byproduct of creating a synthesis in my own head and heart that I can believe in.

And this idea of AI making you “more collaborative in Teams”? Collaboration is about relational exchanges, cooperation, and connection. Writing a product strategy update for your team takes into consideration the individual circumstances, unspoken doubts, and historical context of the individuals on your team — not just the emails and messages the computer parsed (AI can’t synthesize what hasn’t been captured). Writing is a moment for self-reflection, for providing the space and time necessary for the conception of thoughts or feelings that can change your heart or mind. Offloading that task to AI is not necessarily a net-gain, it is a trade-off. One to make consciously.

The most rewarding work I’ve done always originated outside of my tools. My satisfaction of feeling collaborative, or creative, or expressive, or ____ came about first outside any given tool.

Sometimes, I’m ok struggling in Word, in Teams, in PowerPoint, in tool ____ because if I’m struggling it means I don’t know the path forward yet. And figuring out the path, not being told the path, has always been the rewarding part.