Microsoft adds dedicated AI assistant button to Windows PC keyboards

4 January 2024, 09:04

Computer studies increase
Computer studies increase. Picture: PA

The addition is the first major design change to Windows computer keyboards in nearly 30 years.

Microsoft is to introduce a dedicated keyboard button for its AI-powered assistant, Copilot, as part of plans to further embed AI into daily computer use.

The technology giant said consumers would begin to see the Copilot key on Windows 11 PCs announced during 2024, which the firm said would be the “year of the AI PC”.

The update is the first significant change to the Windows PC keyboard design in nearly 30 years, and when pressed will enable users to quickly access the AI assistant, which can be used to help with productivity tasks such as organising files and windows on a user’s screen and carrying out more useful internet searches.

It is the latest move by a large technology company to highlight the increasingly central role AI is taking in electronics and computing devices, as harnessing the technology becomes the key battleground across the industry.

Many of the world’s largest tech firms – including Amazon, Google, and Meta – have all announced new or updated AI assistants over the last year, alongside the rise of generative AI chatbots such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

In a blog post announcing the Copilot key update, Microsoft consumer chief marketing officer Yusuf Mehdi said the company was “ushering in a significant shift toward a more personal and intelligent computing future where AI will be seamlessly woven into Windows from the system, to the silicon, to the hardware”.

He said adding the Copilot key would “simplify people’s computing experience but also amplify it” and would “empower people to participate in the AI transformation more easily”.

Mr Mehdi confirmed that the first devices housing the new key would begin to appear ahead of and during CES, the technology trade show taking place in Las Vegas next week, and would go on sale from late February.

By Press Association

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