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Microsoft Impresses with AI, but Is the PC the Right Platform for it?

Google I/O and Microsoft Build were both AI-focused conferences, so the contrast between their approaches was interesting. Microsoft is focused on PCs, whereas Google is focused on smartphones.

When I was in the Microsoft audience, waiting for the keynote speech, there were no computers in sight. But when the speech started, the majority of us grabbed our PCs, because smartphones aren’t useful for writing. We don’t need either one. Both are needed.

It’s interesting that Qualcomm and Nvidia, two of the leading tech companies in the world, were the ones who backed Microsoft’s announcement. The two companies’ animosity was once again exposed, and if they were to work more closely together in the future of AI, their AI futures could be secured. Both companies are exposed as AMD, Intel, Google, Facebook and Amazon increase their internal hardware efforts.

This week we will be discussing AI and I’ll conclude with my pick of the new notebook computers that use the Qualcomm Snapdragon X-Elite.

PC or Smartphone?

You may have seen a demonstration at Google I/O that showed how your smartphone can be the easiest way to interact AI. You always have your smartphone with you. Its camera is simple to use and can learn more about your life in order to create AIs tailored to your needs.

Microsoft showcased its AI for the PC that learns your work habits and digital communications as well as your professional interests, gaming activities, skills, abilities, and more. The PC will remain your work interface and the AI will improve its understanding of you processes, skills and abilities by learning how you interact with long-form communications.

Google’s method should improve your life personally, while Microsofts method should improve your career. You are not either one or the opposite; you are both. For the AI to be able to work and play with you effectively, it must engage you both professionally and personally.

You will need an AI that can be used on both platforms. Google and Microsoft will be exposed to a competitor who can produce a device that is effective both personally and professionally.

As I said above, Google and Microsoft should collaborate, rather than compete. Their efforts complement one another.

Quality over Performance

Microsoft’s focus on speed is more worrying than Google’s. If you have problems with quality (and we all do) and increase speed, without addressing these issues, you’ll make more mistakes. If these mistakes are carried over into AI systems, then their frequency and impact increase dramatically.

This is a backwards approach by the industry, which focuses on performance improvements rather than quality concerns. As people like Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang claim that one does not have to learn to code, it is harder to spot these errors. It is possible that we could eventually face quality problems which accelerate faster than our ability to mitigate them. As companies increase their AI, I’m already seeing quality drop.

Microsoft’s focus is on development and creativity, which makes it more vulnerable to quality issues. Google’s demonstrations did not include coding. Microsoft’s tools were used to design buildings, create vehicles, and create AIs, while Google’s users created more entertainment. Microsoft’s tools are more likely to be affected by this issue, and therefore have a higher standard of quality than Google, based on their presentations.

AI Benefits

Microsoft demonstrated a variety of AI applications that were very impressive. The demonstrations were impressive. From enabling the blind to communicate what they see and provide directions and descriptions, to allowing a paraplegic to speak and move using AI technology.

This could allow teachers to be more efficient while allowing them to spend more time with their students. It could also help a dad learn to play Minecraft together with his son. I was especially interested in the emphasis on teachers, because they are crucial to ensuring future generations. I was particularly interested in the tool’s training component, as well as the game demonstration.

The last point was especially interesting, because I lose interest in new video games because learning the unique features of the game during the first phase is more work than fun for me. It’s a learning curve, but I know that I will have a better time with the game if I get past it. Sometimes I want to get on with the story in story-based video games without spending too much time on the puzzles.

Microsoft showed that a coach is more useful than an online guide in getting you through the hurdle. The AI coach sounded and behaved like a real person, could read your body language and guide you to a better gaming experience. This would reduce my fear of buying new games, and I’d be more inclined to purchase them if this function was available.

Office 365 heavily uses Copilot to allow you to create presentation from documents automatically. When creating a PowerPoint presentation, it may be more effective to first draft the document before jumping into PowerPoint.

It has always been my desire to master Adobe’s tools to produce better images and movies but the learning curve was steep. AI reduces the learning curve, so it’s easier to get started with the product.

AI will make it easier to learn even the most complex tools. This could be a huge benefit for companies such as Adobe, who have had a difficult time selling their powerful products because of customer fears about the learning curve.

Our AI approach may be criticall wrong

I stated that we focus too much on speed rather than quality. This is the area where AI will be most useful: in decision support. This issue of quality versus speed is an example. As an example, earlier this summer, the board of OpenAI dismissed their CEO. It was a bad outcome. Their decision was well-founded but not well-thought-through. Their failure may have made OpenAI less safe, rather than safer.

If we had thought about our decisions, we might have taken them differently, or even not at all. In retrospect, we are all more intelligent. But AI could help us to avoid some of our most critical mistakes.

In a sense, it brings us back towards quality. Why not focus AI at first on making us happier and more productive? Could it help us to avoid mistakes, relationships and careers that will haunt us for the rest of our lives, and ensure that where we live and what we do is where you’ll enjoy and regret the least?

AI should not be confined to the most productive future. It should also ensure our best possible future. But that’s not what we’re doing right now.

Samsung Galaxy Book4 Edge

Microsoft hosted an event at which Acer (with Surface), Asus, Dell HP, Lenovo, Microsoft, and Samsung showcased laptops that were powered by Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon X processor. It is the only processor with enough power to run Microsoft Copilot.

A lot of these offerings are generic, due to the quickness with which the products needed to be developed. Microsoft’s attention to Apple has resulted into the best Surface Laptop so far. Acer offered an interesting feature, which lit up whenever Copilot was used. However, Samsung created the strongest premium experience, with a very sleek design, premium technology, features, and the most beautiful OLED display.

The Galaxy Book4 Edge, a Copilot+ computer powered by the Snapdragon X Elite chip. (Image Credit: Samsung)

I had to decide which notebook would be the best for me: the Surface Notebook that has been my favorite for years, the Acer with its light feature and clean design or the Samsung with its all-out effort.

After comparing a number of remarkably similar PCs, I decided that the Samsung would be the one I’d choose if I ever needed to purchase a replacement. Samsung Galaxy Book4 Edge has been chosen as my Product of the week.

Samsung is one only two Windows PC manufacturers that can blend smartphones and computers to create the AI experience we desire across both platforms. Lenovo is the other. They could become the leaders in AI-powered personal technology. I must also give a shout out to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite which made this possible.