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Thanks To Microsoft, We Just Entered Into The AI PC Era & More Than Ever, AI Is Becoming Everything As We Know It.

It seems hard to imagine that it was only in November 2022, less than 2 years ago, that ChatGPT was launched to the world and basically sparked the Generative AI era that seems to be consuming anything and everything as we know it in essentially every conceivable context.

Everyone, and every organisation, of every size it seems wants some of that AI goodness in all that they are doing. Indeed, as an old hand in all things digital for nearly three decades, the ‘AI era’ we are currently living in is starting to feel highly reminiscent of the dotcom boom that led to a bubble that eventually burst, quite spectacularly if I may add!

However, opinions aside, AI is a very real and very opportune moment in human history where technology will disrupt and transform everything as we know it, mark my words. To reaffirm this opinion, it was Jensen Huang who is the Founder & CEO of NVIDIA, the leading global producer of high-end Graphics Processing Units or GPUs that power AI platforms, who stated late last year that AI will be bigger than the Internet itself. Imagine that!

So, lets get to heart of the matter being yesterday’s potentially pivotal moment in all things Generative AI following the launch of their latest range of Surface laptops which are powered at the core to AI PCs – yes, this is now a thing! I don’t know whether to rejoice or be freakout that this could be the point when we finally start building the future predicted in the Terminator or Matrix movies! We can’t say we weren’t warned! 🙂

The new range of Microsoft Windows powered laptops extend beyond the Surface devices and include the likes of Dell, HP, Samsung and others. This new range AI enabled laptops are being called in a somewhat Microsoft-esque naming style ‘Copilot Plus PCs’. Yes, that’s a thing too! 🙂

It seems Microsoft has been working in stealth on these new devices with it’s hardware partners for the better part of 2 years. What makes them interesting is a number of things starting with their use of a highly performant ARM processor.

ARM processors are renowned for sipping power whilst being able to outperform more conventional CPUs like those from Intel given their ability to process much more data concurrently based on their architecture. The ARM processor at the heart of most of these new AI PCs initially is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite chip.

What is somewhat staggering is that these ARM chips are apparently 50% faster than Apple’s M3 chips which seems absurd given just how far ahead Apple has been in this arena for the last few years with their proprietary Apple Silicon powered MacBooks.

To make matters even more interesting is that the AI PCs have AU embedded not only into the Windows 11 operating system giving them a broad range of hitherto unseen AI features and functionalities, they also come with a Neural Processing Unit or ‘NPU’.

Put simply, Microsoft and edge Windows PC collective is taking the fight AI-first to Apple. Indeed the new AI PCs are just as power efficient as well compared to MacBooks which enables them to operate for upto 16 hours nonstop – madness!

The AI PCs also feature small language models or ‘SLMs’ meaning that they can perform a range of Generative AI capabilities without needing to access the cloud or internet where LLMs like OpenAI’s ChatGPT. This is also known as edge computing which will become increasingly common for AI workloads in the future as far as I can tell.

All this being said, Apple has been deploying their AI enabled neural engines to their smartphones and computers for sometime so it will be interesting to see how they respond to the arrival of Microsoft’s AI PCs. Let’s not forget that Apple already released their M4 chip powered iPads a couple of weeks so its only a matter of time I imagine before we see what happens next from an AI perspective with their MacBooks. Apple is never always first but quite often they do it best, Siri non-withstanding! 🙂

We also know that Apple is currently exploring partnerships with companies like OpenAI to see how to enable their vast device and platforms ecosystem with Generative AI capabilities so presumably parity will be restored in due course. Let’s also not forget that when it comes to monetizing their digital ecosystem, Apple is second to none and this will have any AI platforms it works with salivating to participate in the revenue opportunities therein.

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