At its Build developers conference, Microsoft unveiled its first features in a customer product powered by GPT-3, the powerful natural language model developed by OpenAI, which will help users build apps without needing to know how to write computer code or formulas.
GPT-3 will be integrated in Microsoft Power Apps, the low code app development platform that helps everyone from people with little or no coding experience — so-called “citizen developers” — to professional developers with deep programming expertise build applications to improve business productivity or processes. This includes apps to review non-profit gift donations, manage travel during COVID-19 or reduce overtime required to maintain wind turbines.
For instance, the new AI-powered features will allow an employee building an e-commerce app to describe a programming goal using conversational language like “find products where the name starts with ‘kids.’” A fine-tuned GPT-3 model then offers choices for transforming the command into a Microsoft Power Fx formula, the open source programming language of the Power Platform, such as “Filter(‘BC Orders’ Left(‘Product Name’,4)=”Kids”).
It’s one of the first implementations showing how GPT-3, running on Microsoft Azure and powered by Azure Machine Learning and one of the first internal uses of its new managed endpoints capability, can solve real-world business needs on an enterprise scale, Microsoft said.
With new features powered by GPT-3, Microsoft Power Apps users can describe a programming goal in conversational language and have it automatically transformed into Power Fx code.
While Power Fx is built on Microsoft Excel, and therefore much easier to use than traditional coding languages, creating complex data queries can still be a steep learning curve, and these new features help lower that curve.
“Using an advanced AI model like this can help our low-code tools become even more widely available to an even bigger audience by truly becoming what we call no code,” said Charles Lamanna, corporate vice president for Microsoft’s low code application platform.
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