Starting this month, some new personal computers that run Microsoft’s Windows 11 operating system will have a special “Copilot key.” The key will launch the software company’s AI chatbot.
Getting computer makers like Dell to add an AI key is the latest move by Microsoft to make use of its close partnership with ChatGPT-maker OpenAI. With the development, Microsoft is turning its software into an opening for generative AI technology.
Most people now connect to the internet and many AI applications by phone rather than computer. But the announcement is the start of what is expected to be a competitive year for technology companies and AI.
Many companies still have not answered all of AI’s ethical and legal questions. The New York Times last month brought legal action against both OpenAI and Microsoft. The news organization argued that tools like ChatGPT and Copilot — formerly known as Bing Chat — are infringing on copyrighted news articles.
The keyboard design will be Microsoft’s biggest change to PC keyboards since it introduced a special Windows key in the 1990s.
The newest AI key will have a Copilot logo and be placed near the space bar. On some computers, it will replace the right “CTRL” key, while on others it will replace a menu key.
Microsoft is not the only company with special keys. Apple started the idea in the 1980s with its “Command” key. Google has a search button on its Chromebooks. Google was also the first to try an AI-specific key to launch its voice assistant on its now-discontinued Pixelbook.
But Microsoft has a much stronger hold on the personal computer market through its agreements with computer makers like Lenovo, Dell and HP. About 82 percent of all desktop computers, laptops and workstations run Windows. Just 9 percent use Apple’s operating system and just over 6 percent for Google’s, says market research firm IDC.
Last week, Dell Technologies was the first to announce a Copilot key on its newest XPS laptops.
Microsoft has not yet said which other computer makers will use the Copilot key beyond Microsoft’s own Surface devices. It said several companies are expected to show their new models at the CES show in Las Vegas.
I’m Dan Novak.
Dan Novak adapted this story for VOA Learning English based on reporting by The Associated Press.
Words in This Story
key — n. any one of the buttons of a computer or typewriter that you push with your fingers
chatbot — n.
ethical — adj. involving questions of right and wrong behavior
infringe — v. to do something that does not obey or follow
copyright — n. the legal right to be the only one to reproduce, publish, and sell a book, musical recording, etc., for a certain period of time
logo — n. a symbol that is used to identify a company and that appears on its products