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The biggest change to the Windows keyboard in nearly 30 years


Microsoft said on Thursday that keyboards on upcoming Windows PCs will feature a CoPilot button for text conversations with the software maker's virtual assistant, according to CNBC.

Microsoft's CoPilot Assistant has been released on Windows 10 and Windows 11. Later this month, device makers will release computers with keyboards featuring the new Assistant key.

The new feature is considered one of the most prominent additions to the Windows keyboard since Windows included the “Start” button in the famous keyboard in 1994.

Copilot for Windows leverages artificial intelligence models from Microsoft-backed startup OpenAI, which runs its popular GPT chat software, and can generate text that resembles a human response to a few words of typed input. People can ask it to write emails, answer questions, create images, and operate computer features.

Workers at companies that pay for CoPilot for Microsoft 365 can receive highlights of Teams conversations and get help writing Word documents.

Microsoft began offering the CoPilot program on computers running Windows 10 - the most common operating system in the world - and Windows 11, but indirectly by holding down the Windows key and pressing the C key to call up CoPilot. The keyboard has a dedicated key for the CoPilot feature.

Although Windows is no longer the juggernaut it once was, Microsoft still derives about 10% of its revenue from the operating system. Therefore, it will not hesitate to do anything to support personal computers so that it can increase revenues for companies such as Dell and HP, which are looking to sell alternatives to the personal computers that consumers, students, and workers purchased from them during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The technology industry has agreed on a term called AIPC, which often means there are special chip components inside devices to run the models.

Microsoft's head of Windows and Service, Youssef Mahdi, wrote in a Microsoft blog post that improvements to the Windows operating system, computer hardware, and chip level will make 2024 "the year of the AI-powered personal computer."

Computer manufacturers will display PCs containing the CoPilot key ahead of CES in Las Vegas next week, and before they begin rolling out later this month. Mahdi wrote that the new key will appear on upcoming Microsoft Surface computers.

In some cases, the CoPilot key will replace the Menu key or Right Control key, a Microsoft spokesperson told CNBC in an email. The spokesman said that some of the larger computers will have enough space for both the CoPilot key and the right control key.