• 23 Jun, 2024

Pressing a button is one way to summon an artificial intelligence agent as Microsoft exerts its influence in the computing industry to reimagine the next generation of keyboards.

Starting this month, some new personal computers running Microsoft's Windows operating system will have a special "Copilot key" that launches the software giant's AI chatbot.

Getting third-party computer makers to add an AI button to laptops is Microsoft's latest move to leverage its close partnership with ChatGPT maker OpenAI and become a gateway for applications of generative artificial intelligence technology.

While most people now connect to the Internet (and AI applications) via phone rather than computer, it's a symbolic start to what's expected to be an intensely competitive year as tech companies race to outdo each other in the field of artificial intelligence applications. they have not yet resolved all the ethical and legal implications.

The New York Times sued both OpenAI and Microsoft last month, claiming that tools like ChatGPT and Copilot – formerly known as Bing Chat – were created by infringing on copyrighted news articles. The new keyboard design will represent Microsoft's biggest change to PC keyboards since Microsoft introduced a dedicated Windows key in the 1990s. Microsoft's four-pointed logo design has evolved, but the key has been a staple of Windows-oriented keyboards for nearly three decades.

The last AI button is highlighted by the ribbon-shaped Copilot logo and is located next to the space bar. On some computers, it replaces the right \"CTRL\" key, while on others it replaces a menu key.

Microsoft isn't the only company with custom keys. Apple pioneered this concept in the 1980s with the "Command" key, which featured a square design with a ring (for a time, the key also featured the Apple logo). Google has a search button on its Chromebooks and was the first to experiment with an AI-specific button to launch its voice assistant on its now-discontinued Pixelbook.

But Microsoft has a much stronger grip on the PC market through licensing deals with third-party manufacturers like Lenovo, Dell, and HP. According to market research firm IDC, about 82 percent of all desktop, laptop, and workstation computers use Windows, compared to 9 percent for Apple's in-house operating system and just over 6 percent for Google.

Microsoft has not yet said which computer manufacturers will install the Copilot button alongside Microsoft's internal line of premium Surface devices. Some companies are said to be expected to unveil their new models at next week's CES gadget show in Las Vegas.

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