Microsoft's first OpenAI-powered feature helps beginners build productivity apps

It enables users to code apps using conversational language.


Microsoft has officially introduced its first GPT-3-powered feature in a customer product, eight months after it exclusively licensed the sophisticated OpenAI language model. The tech giant has announced at the virtual Build developers conference that it's integrating GPT-3 in Power Apps, which even people with no coding experience can use to build business productivity apps. With the new features in place, Power Apps will be even easier to use — in fact, it'll give users the power to code by using plain conversational language.

GPT-3 is the largest language model ever trained and is capable of generating text so human-like, it could write believable fake news. Microsoft invested $1 billion in OpenAI back in 2019 and got access to the language tech for its own use and for its Azure cloud customers.

The language model's integration into Power Apps means users will be able to type in what they want their app to accomplish, and the platform can transform the command into a Power Fx formula. (That's the language the Power platform uses.) For instance, they can type in "Show 10 orders that have 'stroller' in the product name and sort by purchase date with newest on the top." Power Apps, which would have the capability to understand what that means thanks to GPT-3, will then generate the code "FirstN(Sort(Search(‘BC Orders’, “stroller”, “aib_productname”), ‘Purchase Date’, Descending)" for the user.

Microsoft says the feature doesn't "replace the need for a person to understand the code they are implementing." It can, however, provide valuable assistance to people who are still new to or have only started learning the Power Fx programming language. "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," the company said.

GPT-3's Power Apps integration will first be available by the end of June to English-language Preview users in North America.

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