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Microsoft’s Bold Attempt at AI Dominance with the New AI Key for Windows 11 Laptops

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Microsoft's Bold Attempt at AI Dominance with the New AI Key for Windows 11 Laptops

At this week’s CES, the biggest technology trade show in the world, artificial intelligence is already pervasive. CNET is on the ground, covering the ins and outs of the event before its official start. Microsoft said in the lead-up to the significant AI focus that it will be releasing a new, dedicated key for its AI tool, Copilot, on Windows 11 laptops and PCs.

Users of Windows 11 can access Microsoft’s generative AI tool, which can assist with everything from writing a short narrative, planning a trip or dinner, and shopping for specific things, all with the touch of a handy keyboard button.

The Copilot AI key is not only the largest update to a Windows keyboard in nearly thirty years, but it also acts as a physical entry point to the Copilot service, which assists users with tasks like document summarization, music recommendations, and AI chatbot or search engine queries. With this action, Microsoft is taking a step toward reaching over a billion Windows users with its AI services.

“We believe it will empower people to participate in the AI transformation more easily,” Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s executive vice president and consumer chief marketing officer, said Thursday. “The new key will invoke the Copilot in Windows experience to make it seamless to engage Copilot in your day to day.”

Microsoft is investing $10 billion in ChatGPT producer OpenAI. In a dramatic turn of events that saw OpenAI CEO and co-founder Sam Altman temporarily removed by the company’s own board, Microsoft CEO Sundar Pichai hired Altman and other key personnel almost away. Pichai’s prompt decision highlights Microsoft’s significant stake on AI chatbots and search through Copilot, formerly known as Bing Chat, even if Altman has subsequently been restored at OpenAI. Over the past year, Microsoft has integrated generative AI into some of its most significant products, such as Windows 11 and the Bing search engine. Large language models are necessary for Copilot, especially Open AI’s GPT-4.

Which laptops and PCs running Windows 11 will make use of the Copilot keyboard key?

On certain keyboards, the menu or right control keys will be replaced with the Copilot key, which will be located to the right of the space bar and activate Microsoft Copilot.

In the days preceding CES this week, as well as during the technology convention itself, Microsoft’s partners will begin shipping Windows 11 laptops and PCs with the new button. The new key is part of the soon-to-be released series of Dell XPS laptops, which CNET has already seen.

Microsoft states that a broader rollout, which will include future Surface devices, is anticipated in late February or early spring. The Copilot button will eventually be a necessary function.

The new key will launch Windows Search for Windows users who do not have Copilot activated or who reside in a nation where Copilot is not available. Currently, Windows users can launch Copilot by using the Windows key + C.

“This [new button] will not only simplify people’s computing experience but also amplify it, making 2024 the year of the AI PC,” Mehdi stated.

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Biden, Kishida Secure Support from Amazon and Nvidia for $50 Million Joint AI Research Program

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As the two countries seek to enhance cooperation around the rapidly advancing technology, President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida have enlisted Amazon.com Inc. and Nvidia Corp. to fund a new joint artificial intelligence research program.

A senior US official briefed reporters prior to Wednesday’s official visit at the White House, stating that the $50 million project will be a collaborative effort between Tsukuba University outside of Tokyo and the University of Washington in Seattle. A separate collaborative AI research program between Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and Tokyo’s Keio University is also being planned by the two nations.

The push for greater research into artificial intelligence comes as the Biden administration is weighing a series of new regulations designed to minimize the risks of AI technology, which has developed as a key focus for tech companies. The White House announced late last month that federal agencies have until the end of the year to determine how they will assess, test, and monitor the impact of government use of AI technology.

In addition to the university-led projects, Microsoft Corp. announced on Tuesday that it would invest $2.9 billion to expand its cloud computing and artificial intelligence infrastructure in Japan. Brad Smith, the president of Microsoft, met with Kishida on Tuesday. The company released a statement announcing its intention to establish a new AI and robotics lab in Japan.

Kishida, the second-largest economy in Asia, urged American business executives to invest more in Japan’s developing technologies on Tuesday.

“Your investments will enable Japan’s economic growth — which will also be capital for more investments from Japan to the US,” Kishida said at a roundtable with business leaders in Washington.

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OnePlus and OPPO Collaborate with Google to Introduce Gemini Models for Enhanced Smartphone AI

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As anticipated, original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs, are heavily integrating AI into their products. Google is working with OnePlus, OPPO, and other companies to integrate Gemini models into their smartphones. They intend to introduce the Gemini models on smartphones later this year, becoming the first OEMs to do so. Gemini models will go on sale later in 2024, as announced at the Google Cloud Next 24 event. Gemini models are designed to provide users with an enhanced artificial intelligence (AI) experience on their gadgets.

Customers in China can now create AI content on-the-go with devices like the OnePlus 12 and OPPO Find X7 thanks to OnePlus and OPPO’s Generative AI models.

The AI Eraser tool was recently made available to all OnePlus customers worldwide. This AI-powered tool lets users remove unwanted objects from their photos. For OnePlus and OPPO, AI Eraser is only the beginning.

In the future, the businesses hope to add more AI-powered features like creating original social media content and summarizing news stories and audio.

AndesGPT LLM from OnePlus and OPPO powers AI Eraser. Even though the Samsung Galaxy S24 and Google Pixel 8 series already have this feature, it is still encouraging to see OnePlus and OPPO taking the initiative to include AI capabilities in their products.

OnePlus and OPPO devices will be able to provide customers with a more comprehensive and sophisticated AI experience with the release of the Gemini models. It is important to remember that OnePlus and OPPO already power the Trinity Engine, which makes using phones incredibly smooth, and use AI and computational mathematics to enhance mobile photography.

By 2024, more original equipment manufacturers should have AI capabilities on their products. This is probably going to help Google because OEMs will use Gemini as the foundation upon which to build their features.

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Meta Explores AI-Enabled Search Bar on Instagram

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In an attempt to expand the user base for its generative AI-powered products, Meta is moving forward. The business is experimenting with inserting Meta AI into the Instagram search bar for both chat with AI and content discovery, in addition to testing the chatbot Meta AI with users in nations like India on WhatsApp.

When you type a query into the search bar, Meta AI initiates a direct message (DM) exchange in which you can ask questions or respond to pre-programmed prompts. Aravind Srinivas, CEO of Perplexity AI, pointed out that the prompt screen’s design is similar to the startup’s search screen.

Plus, it might make it easier for you to find fresh Instagram content. As demonstrated in a user-posted video on Threads, you can search for Reels related to a particular topic by tapping on a prompt such as “Beautiful Maui sunset Reels.”

Additionally, TechCrunch spoke with a few users who had the ability to instruct Meta AI to look for recommendations for Reels.

By using generative AI to surface new content from networks like Instagram, Meta hopes to go beyond text generation.

With TechCrunch, Meta verified the results of its Instagram AI experiment. But the company didn’t say whether or not it uses generative AI technology for search.

A Meta representative told TechCrunch, “We’re testing a range of our generative AI-powered experiences publicly in a limited capacity. They are under development in varying phases.”

There are a ton of posts available discussing Instagram search quality. It is therefore not surprising that Meta would want to enhance search through the use of generative AI.

Furthermore, Instagram should be easier to find than TikTok, according to Meta. In order to display results from Reddit and TikTok, Google unveiled a new perspectives feature last year. Instagram is developing a feature called “Visibility off Instagram” that could allow posts to appear in search engine results, according to reverse engineer Alessandro Paluzzi, who made this discovery earlier this week on X.

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