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AI Coming to a Keyboard Near You

Microsoft updates its keyboard for the first time in nearly three decades.

If you plan on buying a new computer this year, you just might find an added feature on the keyboard. Microsoft has changed its buttons for the first time in nearly 30 years, adding an AI key for users to integrate artificial intelligence more easily into their daily online work routines.

New AI Key for Computers

Microsoft’s new keyboard design will help users become more dependent, er, dialed in to, AI. No more searching for artificial intelligence apps or websites; now it will all be available at a tap on the computer. Windows 11 operating system will have a “Copilot key” that, when chosen, will launch the AI chatbot. The new button will be located near the space bar and will have a ribbon-like design reminiscent of the Copilot logo. According to the Windows blog:

“In this new year, we will be ushering in a significant shift toward a more personal and intelligent computing future where AI will be seamlessly woven into Windows from the system, to the silicon, to the hardware.”

GettyImages-1825439043 Copilot

(Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

So, what kind of things can the new AI copilot do? It apparently reinvents “productivity for everyone,” and helps users to work more efficiently in everything from Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations to writing articles and books. With PowerPoint, Copilot can create full presentations from a single prompt, explained Tech Radar. For Outlook, the AI program can clear an email inbox in minutes, getting rid of junk and other unnecessary correspondence.

Sounds helpful, right? However, there are some major concerns associated with the new artificial intelligence, such as using it to write articles, books, or other creative works that might infringe on copyright and intellectual property. The New York Times recently filed a lawsuit against OpenAI and Microsoft for copyright infringement. As Liberty Nation reported, the outlet claimed its material was used in training AI programs.

On its website, Microsoft describes how using Copilot in Microsoft Word can help the creator:

“Copilot in Word writes, edits, summarizes, and creates right alongside you. With only a brief prompt, Copilot in Word will create a first draft for you, bringing in information from across your organization. Copilot can add content to existing documents, summarize text, and rewrite sections or the entire document to make it more concise.”

It’s important to note that Copilot is not the same as ChatGPT. As Tech Radar explains, “ChatGPT derives its output data from three sources: information freely available on the Internet, data licensed from third-party providers, and information provided by its users.” Copilot is different because it “uses your organization’s SharePoint, OneDrive, Teams data, and more to provide real-time assistance.”

Within a company, this might be a useful tool to stay organized, but it also could be a security risk since Copilot will have access to an organization’s data. While Microsoft has privacy features built in to protect material, there are some worrisome loopholes. For example, if users are not trained properly, they could inadvertently make sensitive content available to any and all.

It’s also important to understand that AI is generative; think of how autocorrect works on your cell phone. In other words, it can’t read your mind. At least not yet. Tech Radar described this problem very well, comparing how artificial intelligence can resemble two childhood games: telephone and Mad Libs. In the telephone scenario, “our documents can become like whispered messages in the telephone game, taking on their own life once they pass from one person to the next and oftentimes unrecognizable compared to the original.” Mad Libs is fill-in-the-blank sentences in which AI will “guess” at what it thinks fits best (again, think of how autocorrect works), whether it’s right or incorrect.

Another concern is that it will make users lazy and not as diligent as they simply accept whatever AI suggests without vetting the information.

While some functions will automatically be included for personal PCs, companies that use Copilot may find it pricey. Tech Radar reported that Microsoft 365 Copilot requires at least 300 users and costs $30 per month per user, for a minimum $108,000 a year.

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