New Windows 11 perk gives Windows 10 users another reason to upgrade PC

Microsoft has announced a big change coming to Windows 11 PCs that clearly shows the direction in which the tech giant believes computing will go this decade. As we head into 2024, many new Windows laptops will soon come with a dedicated Copilot key on their keyboards that will be used to call up Copilot, Microsoft’s AI assistant – a software feature that may not make it onto older Windows 10 PCs.

Microsoft likened the new artificial intelligence keyboard key to the introduction of the now-famous Windows key present on keyboards worldwide since 1994.

“Nearly 30 years ago, we introduced the Windows key to the PC keyboard that enabled people all over the world to interact with Windows,” Microsoft Executive Vice President Yusuf Mehdi said in a blog post. “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.”

The Copilot key will be added to new Windows laptops released from February, including some models at the CES trade show this month and on future Surface computers, Microsoft said. In a short promotional video, the key is positioned to the right of the space bar between the Alt and left arrow keys.

“The introduction of the Copilot key marks the first significant change to the Windows PC keyboard in nearly three decades,” Mehdi said. “We believe it will empower people to participate in the AI transformation more easily. The Copilot key joins the Windows key as a core part of the PC keyboard and when pressed, the new key will invoke the Copilot in Windows experience to make it seamless to engage Copilot in your day to day.”

Copilot’s AI smarts are based on AI tech from OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, of which Microsoft is an investor. Copilot uses what is known as a multimodal large language model to collate online information and perform complex tasks at fast speeds.

Microsoft is already adding Copilot to existing Windows 11 PCs as a modern virtual assistant. Remember Clippy the paperclip from Windows 98? Copilot is the modern version, helping you do simple tasks other voice assistants can do such as search the web or play a song, right through to advanced tasks only possible using online artificial intelligence, such as creating images from a description or creating social media-ready videos from your camera roll.

This isn’t the first time a tech company has put a dedicated button on its hardware in an attempt to get people to use a particular function more frequently. Samsung and other Android brands put voice assistant buttons on smartphones for a few years that could call up Google Assistant or Samsung Bixby, but such buttons are generally not found on the latest Android devices.

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