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Microsoft are adding a dedicated AI button to Windows keyboards as they call 2024 “the year of the AI PC”

Get ready to infuriate yourself in a whole new way as you swap mistakenly opening the Windows Start Menu with an accidental keystroke for summoning an AI determined to paint you a picture. Microsoft have announced their plans to introduce a dedicated AI button to keyboards for Windows PCs, the first major change to their keyboards since the Windows key was added nearly 30 years ago.

The new button is officially known as the Copilot key, and ties into the eponymous AI already folded into Bing searches, Microsoft Office and Windows 11. (They’ve also separately incorporated AI into a number of game development tools to generate dialogue, missions and characters on the fly, among other things, causing understandable wariness among developers.)

Pressing the button will pop up Copilot, which Microsoft suggests can be used to help make images, generate songs and tidy up writing, as well as more mundane tasks like adjusting your PC settings as asked. It essentially sounds like a more advanced version of Microsoft’s previous virtual assistant, Cortana (remember that?), albeit attached to the even more dystopian and questionable nature of AI. I’m admittedly not a fan of AI anyway, but I can’t really imagine asking my computer to generate a song for me while I’m working – or to simply take over the task of writing the email for me.

Microsoft’s blog, indeed, reads like the sort of dystopian-scripture-masquerading-as-friendly-corpospeak you might hear from robots planning to replace the human race as efficiently as possible, as they enthuse that the Copilot key will “empower people to participate in the AI transformation more easily”.

Image credit: Microsoft

“This will not only simplify people’s computing experience but also amplify it, making 2024 the year of the AI PC,” they add, describing Copilot as “your everyday AI companion for work and life” – I’m assuming in the kind of voice used in adverts for those smart toys that eventually gain sentience and commit grisly murders in horror movies.

Microsoft themselves compare the addition of the Copilot key to the introduction of the Windows key all those years ago, saying “we see this as another transformative moment in our journey with Windows where Copilot will be the entry point into the world of AI on the PC”. An interesting comparison to a button that I’d wager most people only really think about these days when it accidentally yoinks them out of a game.

Like it or not, the Copilot key is apparently here. Microsoft say that the button will begin to appear on new Windows 11 PCs later this very month and into the spring, including their own Surface machines.

Originally Appeared Here

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