The pace of AI increases daily. One minute, the new Bing and OpenAI’s ChatGPT put AI back on the map, then the next minute, it’s copilots, GPTs, and next-generation assistance that have generative AI bubbling into boardrooms and family dinner conversation. The latest wave of apps coming to market isn’t just opening our eyes to the promise of AI; the way it all works also has us fascinated. That’s why we’re excited to bring a new content series to you called AI in a Minute, which turns generative AI terminology into simple videos we can all relate to—regardless of our job titles, levels, or industries.

Just like mobile and the internet before it, generative AI changes everything. I say this as a millennial who doesn’t know a world without internet, growing up with a pink BlackBerry Curve in one pocket and an iPod in another. But my aunt who I’m very close to, coming from a small family, would tell me about the excitement of her web marketing career at Sun Microsystems, during a time when the internet was still new. Her stories made quite an impression on me, shaping my interest in technology from an early age because it was clear that’s where the action was, where the action would continue to be, and I felt drawn to its mysterious magic like a moth to a flame. If history can teach us anything, generative AI will follow suit and exponentially so. Concepts like cloud computing, storage, and silicon—things we never imagined would resonate outside of the tech bubble—are arguably becoming common knowledge. Modern business language and tech talk only continue to sound more one in the same.

AI in a Minute

Easy explainers that make generative AI relatable and shareable

The platform shift of a lifetime

It’s been almost two years since I joined Microsoft to work in Azure, and this is the first blog post I’ve authored. It took me a while to realize that no matter how technical or non-technical you are, AI touches us all. It is no longer a niche category or discipline requiring engineering backgrounds and advanced degrees; it is the platform shift of our lifetime. And with this, we’re all joining the dialogue, finding a voice, and learning a new frontier together. It’s the intersection of technology and culture that will define where we take things as a society. For AI to serve all, we should all understand it.

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Key takeaways

At Microsoft Ignite 2023, Microsoft shared more than 100 product announcements, solidifying its position as the Copilot company, and a friend of mine in nursing texted me about the news. Now, I need to preface this with a confession that I often caveat myself as “the nerd” in social situations and avoid going too deep into what I actually do. However, my friend who is not even a tech enthusiast watched Scott Guthrie’s keynote and said, “this is seriously cool.” I’m finding more people from all walks of life, outside of the tech echo chamber, are genuinely interested in AI—what it can do, how it works—and in the future Microsoft stands for.

Generative AI, beyond traditional AI

It’s important to distinguish that “traditional AI,” also known as “conversational AI,” has been progressing for decades, but this is not the type of AI on the tip of everyone’s tongues today; it’s “generative AI” specifically—the ability for computers to create content for us, on command—which has reinspired curiosity in tech and our digital way of living. Thanks to remarkable supercomputing power, the wielding of massive data, and machine learning advancements, AI solutions can do so much more than converse with us; they can produce outputs for us through conversation. And in order to do this, large language models need to be trained on a lot of good data, prompt engineering needs to orchestrate intuitive interactions, vector search needs to surface the best results and the content generated needs to advance mankind for the better. It’s a lot, but I hope you’ll see with AI in a Minute that it can be more accessible than it seems at first blush.

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Learning a new frontier, together

So, what makes generative AI special? What are the large language models known as “LLMs” that we keep reading about? Do we need to be engineers to appreciate the experiences that prompt engineering makes possible? What is a prompt even? Is vector search just search, what’s the difference? How is something like vector search even relevant to me? Is responsible AI (RAI) a theory or a practice? Is RAI something I can become a part of?

Many of us working at Microsoft have the same questions. There’s a gap between what the growing AI glossary means scientifically and how the terminology translates to our everyday. That’s why we’re excited about this new series, turning the innermost workings of AI capabilities into light explainers. Today on the Microsoft Cloud YouTube channel, you can get up to speed on generative AI, large language models, prompt engineering, vector search, and responsible AI—all in just five minutes total.

As the digital world around us becomes so remarkably intelligent, empowerment through knowledge is vital. Even internally, the list of topics we want to explore through continuations of this series keeps growing. One of the most inspiring aspects of AI is that we’re all learning and building alongside one another.

Watch the series on YouTube