Microsoft Installs Copilot Key on PC Keyboards for Generative AI Assistant Access
Microsoft is augmenting its PC keyboards with a new key to activate its generative AI assistant, Copilot. The new Copilot key will integrate Microsoft’s Copilot service into Windows 11 starting in late February.
The Copilot key invokes the generative AI assistant to respond to voice or text commands. Copilot integrates multiple Windows systems to provide its services. Microsoft collaborated with chipmakers like AMD, Intel, and Qualcomm to optimize Windows for Copilot and its use of commuting and graphic resources. The new key cements Microsoft’s strategy to infuse Copilot AI technology across its products. That includes the renamed Bing, Microsoft 365, and more.
Windows has been incorporating Copilot features for months now. The generative AI tool is multimodal and has a search function already embedded in the taskbar. The tech giant believes the Copilot key will provide even quicker access to ambient AI features, allowing users to tap into assistance simply by pressing a button. Microsoft believes this will lower barriers to AI adoption on PCs.
“The introduction of the Copilot key marks the first significant change to the Windows PC keyboard in nearly three decades. We believe it will empower people to participate in the AI transformation more easily. The Copilot key joins the Windows key as a core part of the PC keyboard and when pressed, the new key will invoke the Copilot in Windows experience to make it seamless to engage Copilot in your day to day,” Microsoft executive vice president and consumer CMO Yusuf Mehdi wrote in a blog post. “Nearly 30 years ago, we introduced the Windows key to the PC keyboard that enabled people all over the world to interact with Windows. We see this as another transformative moment in our journey with Windows where Copilot will be the entry point into the world of AI on the PC.”
The rollout builds on Microsoft’s view of 2024 as a watershed year for “the AI PC.” With new system architectures in place, the company plans to push Windows innovations in personalization, productivity, and predictive intelligence. Microsoft is also encouraging third-party PC manufacturers like HP and Dell to incorporate the Copilot key into upcoming Windows device releases. Whether it’s necessary is an open question since users already invoke Copilot and similar services through voice commands or hotkeys. It’s also a reminder of the vanished Cortana, which played a similar role on Windows for a long time. Now, it just remains to be seen if Copliot hardware can help the new assistant transcend the failures of the last one.