PC makers have begun referring to the latest laptops with Intel Core Ultra, AMD Ryzen 8040, and Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite chips as “AI PCs” thanks to the advanced neural processing units integrated in each of those processors. But it’s a little vague what actually makes these “AI PCs” at this point.

According to Windows Central’s Zac Bowden, the dividing line could become clear later this year when Microsoft launches a major update to Windows 11 that includes an AI Explorer feature that’s like an advanced version of Copilot with access to everything you do on your PC. Bowden’s sources say that systems that can run AI Explorer are “AI PCs.” Those that can’t? They aren’t.


So what is AI Explorer? Basically its an evolution of Microsoft’s Copilot AI assistant with tight integration with the operating system.

One of the biggest things that sets it apart from today’s Copilot? It has “a built-in history/timeline feature that turns everything you do on your computer into a searchable moment using natural language. It works across any app and allows users to search for previously opened conversations, documents, web pages, and images.”

On the one hand, this sounds incredibly useful for anyone who can’t remember what folder you stuffed a file in, what web page you saw that recipe on, or what video you were watching last week that mentioned a book you wanted to read, but can’t remember the title of. Just type in a question and AI Explorer will bring up relevant files, folders, documents, websites, chats, etc.

On the other hand… it’s a Windows feature that’s going to track absolutely everything you do with your computer. That’s not creepy at all.

I’m hoping that this is something that will run locally on your computer and leverage the NPUs that chip makers are building into their latest processors. But it’s unclear from Bowden’s report if that’s the case, or if some or all data will need to be offloaded to a remote server for processing.

That said, Copilot is currently optional in the latest versions of Windows, and I suspect/hope that AI Explorer will likewise be an optional feature that users can turn off if they don’t want an AI assistant keeping track of everything you do on your computer.

Bowden says that AI Explorer will debut with Windows 11 24H2, which is set to launch this fall and should be able to run as an update to computers that are already shipping as “AI PCs,” as well as upcoming models like the Surface Pro 10 and Surface Laptop 6 (which Bowden says will be unveiled on March 21 and begin shipping this spring and summer with a choice of Intel Meteor Lake or Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite processor options).

via Windows Central

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  1. All the various tech companies are racing at lightning speed to be the first to create skynet out of some sort of ever growing, perverse, unquenchable greed..

    ..You know, I still remember watching the first Terminator movie and thinking the idea the world would just give control of all the nukes and whatnot to an ai out of, I guess, fear? sounded kinda ridiculous…

    1. Oh I guarantee it’s all about stupidity and short term gain over long term consequences.

      Reasons to develop skynet and let it have control over the nukes:
      -everyone wants more productivity faster, that’s how you clamber to the top of the bucket of crabs. You’re still a crab in a bucket of crabs, but you can breathe easier. Hence the motivation for the underlying technology.
      -So if you don’t develop it, someone else will.
      -You’ve heard enough bad things about humanity or at least the kind of civilization that your country can be classified as from the mainstream media, that you feel like you’re justified in displacing a lot of workers, they were all useless eaters anyway.
      -The venture capitalists agree with your hatred of people including your own, that’s why they paid to put that message into mainstream media programming. So of course they’ll fund your project to make sure as few people feel like they have a place anywhere with anyone and never coordinate to get out of the bucket of crabs.
      -Everyone includes various militaries. They can’t afford to fall behind on computerized tactics and coordination, rival countries are doing the same thing because of course they would because someone else is doing it because someone else is doing it etc. And if your country falls behind others can walk all over it.
      -If your company lobbies faster and harder, you can get the defense contract, which means you’re a part of the system and the government can’t just shut you down and replace you, and you have to get there before the competition does, or there’s a good chance you’ll get shut down under one pretense or another amidst all the AI concerns, concerns you yourself hope to use to kill your competition. But to get there, you still have to actually have something to sell them. Why not something that can coordinate all the military assets?
      -Well, at least the quarterly projections were good and the shareholders were happy, until they all died.

      1. ..and then there’s me, that lone moron crab attempting to make his way to the bottom of the bucket in the hope he’ll find/make a hole to crawl out of.

  2. What makes a person unique?
    It is not genetics, for identical twins exist.
    It is not preferences, for those change, and a change in preferences does not absolve you of responsibility.
    Nay, what separates one person from another is history. Everything you did or observed, that is what adds to the culmination of your being.

    If copilot knows, Microsoft knows. And Microsoft, who has shown what it hates in its marketing, judges. It doesn’t matter if the processing is done locally, this is still a piece of Microsoft’s mind, that you can’t influence, persuade, or change, and it will do as Microsoft wills.
    The real trouble is that normal people don’t understand that features that are on by default can even conceptually be turned off, let alone knowing how to do that. Once enough of them accept that they can expect computers to judge you, Microsoft can expand on the judgements they deliver. It can go from security suggestions regarding sensitive information and small suggestions for things to do, to bigger suggestions of things to do, to disapproving of what you do, to pressuring you into changing your habits and thoughts into something more profitable, just like every big social media site. After that point it can just harass you with offers to delete files Microsoft doesn’t like or has been paid to classify as immoral.

    This has to be an optional feature, cybersecurity standards exist that require turning things like this OFF. But that goes for Copilot in general.

    1. I remember when Google bought Picasa and started offering face recognition for photos… I quickly realized why they would offer this feature for free (and never enabled it).

      1. Every time someone yells at a digital assistant I tell them not to do that because it could ruin their life, if the company behind it really wanted to. I’ve been doing this since Siri was new.

        1. whoops! I’m that guy that keeps flirting with/attempting to gaslight various digital assistants..

    2. This reminds me of a really smart* quote that was going around the general public several years ago when Edward Snowden was warning us about the NSA, let me see if I can remember it correctly…
      “If you’re not doing anything illegal then what do you have to hide?”