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Can Artificial Intelligence Make the PC Cool Again?

The race to put artificial intelligence everywhere is taking a detour through the good old laptop computer.

Microsoft on Monday introduced a new kind of computer designed for artificial intelligence. The machines, Microsoft says, will run A.I. systems on chips and other gear inside the computers so they are faster, more personal and more private.

The new computers, called Copilot+ PC, will allow people to use A.I. to make it easier to find documents and files they have worked on, emails they have read, or websites they have browsed. Their A.I. systems will also automate tasks like photo editing and language translation.

The new design will be included in Microsoft’s Surface laptops and high-end products that run on the Windows operating system offered by Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo and Samsung, some of the largest PC makers in the world.

The A.I. PC, industry analysts believe, could reverse a longtime decline in the importance of the personal computer. For the last two decades, the demand for the fastest laptops has diminished because so much software was moved into cloud computing centers. A strong internet connection and web browser was all most people needed.

But A.I. stretches that long-distance relationship to its limits. ChatGPT and other generative A.I. tools are run in data centers stuffed with expensive and sophisticated chips that can process the largest, most advanced systems. Even the most cutting-edge chatbots take time to receive a query, process it and send back a response. It is also extremely expensive to manage.

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