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Microsoft is releasing new AI applications for its process automation platform Power Automate, part of its Power Platform. These applications are particularly useful for low-level automation of repetitive or ‘tedious’ tasks. The company made this announcement at the Build 2024 conference in Seattle.

An example of how users can easily create automation this way is by combining a screen capture made with Power Automate Desktop with spoken text recorded with the AI Recorder. This combination basically explains to the AI what such an automation should look like, like how one would explain it to a co-worker.

When using the AI Recorder, it is no longer necessary to record a workflow in advance: users can opt just to describe it. According to Microsoft, automations created with the new AI functionalities are so robust that they still work even if minor changes are made to the user interface.

Instructions in plain human language

Another newly announced feature of Power Automate is AI Flows, which is already available as part of an early access program. This functionality allows users to instruct the AI in similarly natural language what kind of workflow they are looking for. They do this by supplying written instructions written in plain human language, supplemented by documents or specific parameters.

Based on that input, the AI generates the flow. Again, the company gives examples of concrete applications, like checking whether a booked business trip meets predefined conditions or whether a booking cancellation meets the terms of service.

The calculations required to create these process automations are still done entirely in the cloud. Sangya Singh, VP of the Power Platform, reports that her team is also currently exploring whether parts of the AI model used can start running locally, according to Techcrunch.

Automate recurring tasks

Power Automate is a cloud service from Microsoft that allows users to create automated workflows between their most-used apps and services to sync files, get notifications, collect data and more.

It is part of the Microsoft Power Platform, a low-code/no-code environment that also includes Power BI (business analytics), Power Apps (app development) and Power Virtual Agents (creating chatbots), among others. With Power Automate, users can automate recurring tasks and integrate them across different systems and applications. These include approval processes, data synchronization, email automation and even social media monitoring.

Also read: Power Automate makes Copilot in Windows 11 much more effective