Microsoft’s AI Key Is Keyboards’ First Big Change in Decades

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As a result of Microsoft’s unveiling of its first major keyboard redesign in thirty years, one of the buttons on computer keyboards is being redesigned to accommodate an artificial intelligence chatbot button.

Beginning this month, certain new personal computers that run the Windows 11 operating system from Microsoft will come equipped with a unique “Copilot key” that will allow the software giant’s artificial intelligence chatbot to be activated.

Microsoft's AI Key Is Keyboards' First Big Change in Decades
Microsoft’s AI Key Is Keyboards’ First Big Change in Decades

Microsoft has taken the latest step to leverage its strong cooperation with OpenAI, the company that makes ChatGPT, and to position itself as a gateway for applications of generative artificial intelligence technology. This strategy involves getting third-party computer makers, such as Dell, to add an AI button to laptops.

Despite the fact that the majority of people now connect to the internet and many AI applications through their phones rather than through their computers, this event serves as a symbolic beginning to what is anticipated to be a competitive year. This is because technology companies are competing with one another to develop the most advanced AI applications, even though they have not yet resolved all of the ethical and legal implications. Since the beginning of the month, the New York Times has filed a lawsuit against both OpenAI and Microsoft, claiming that some applications, such as ChatGPT and Copilot (which was originally known as Bing Chat), violate copyright laws by stealing news items.

The redesigned keyboard will be the most significant modification that Microsoft has made to personal computer keyboards since the company first introduced a unique Windows key in the 1990s. The key has remained a constant on keyboards made for Windows for about thirty years, despite the fact that Microsoft’s four-squared emblem has undergone various design changes over the years.

The newest artificial intelligence button will have a ribbon-like emblem that resembles the Copilot logo and be close to the space bar. It will replace the right “CTRL” key on certain systems, while on others it will replace a menu key. Both of these changes are possible.

It is not just Microsoft that has customized keys; other companies do as well. In the 1980s, Apple was the first company to implement this idea with their “Command” key, which had a looped square design and, for a temporary period of time, also included an Apple logo. In addition to having a search button on its Chromebooks, Google was the first company to experiment with an AI-specific key in order to launch its voice assistant on its Pixelbook, which has since been discontinued.

On the other hand, Microsoft has a significantly greater grip on the whole personal computer industry as a result of the license deals it has with third-party manufacturers such as Lenovo, Dell, and HP. According to the market research firm IDC, Windows is used by approximately 82% of all desktop computers, laptops, and workstations. This is in contrast to the operating system that Apple uses internally, which is just 9%, and Google’s operating system, which is just over 6%.

Microsoft's AI Key Is Keyboards' First Big Change in Decades

On Thursday, Dell Technologies was the first company to reveal that its most recent XPS notebooks are equipped with a Copilot key.

Microsoft has not yet disclosed which other computer manufacturers are implementing the Copilot button in addition to Microsoft’s own in-house line of premium Surface computers. Several of the companies are anticipated to present their latest versions at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that will take place in Las Vegas the following week.


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