4 ways AI could seriously upgrade the next version of Windowson February 8, 2023 at 13:01 Tech Advisor
We’re only a few weeks into 2023, but it already looks like ‘AI’ will be one of the tech buzzwords of the year. Artificial intelligence has existed for decades, but the release of the ChatGPT chatbot in November was perhaps one of the strongest demonstrations yet of what AI is capable of.
Microsoft has already invested in the company behind it, OpenAI, but it’s now taking things to the next level. A version of ChatGPT will soon be directly integrated into the Bing search engine and Edge web browser, while similar technology is being used to provide summaries of Microsoft Teams meetings.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the potential of AI in Windows. There are lots of different ways the technology could be used to enhance the user experience, and the rumoured arrival of Windows 12 in 2024 could be the perfect opportunity.
Here are four examples of how AI could be harnessed to make Windows better.
1. Supercharged Windows search
ChatGPT is focused on answering text-based queries, so why not add it where that happens most often in Windows? The search function can currently be used to find apps, files, folders and search the web, but this could be extended to work like Bing or Edge will.
Mark Hachman / IDG
Potential examples include finding specific documents or photos from a vague description, sending a strongly-worded email in Outlook or changing several key settings at once.
2. A new productivity assistant
Many will remember Clippy, the annoying animated paperclip which used to provide suggestions across Office apps in the late 90s and early 00s. Then there was Cortana, Microsoft’s answer to Alexa and Google Assistant.
Neither of these were very popular, but a new AI-powered assistant certainly could be. Rather than just providing templates, it could be used to create almost entire documents and presentations for you. Need to look something up? Such an assistant could give you the info without you ever leaving the app.
Some effort to verify sources and avoid issues of plagiarism would be necessary, but it would make things much quicker.
3. Easy file management
Managing files is a tedious process in Windows 11, which can often lead to an overflowing Documents folder or cluttered desktop. Rather than having to review everything one by one, as you do currently, wouldn’t it be great if AI could handle this for you?
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
A simple command such as ‘move all files related to technology into the same folder’, AI could save you hours of work. It might even be able to create folders of similar files automatically, or delete those it thinks you don’t need (but only to the Recycle Bin, so you can review them!).
4. New AI-focused stock apps
Microsoft includes a lot of pre-installed software with Windows 11, but AI could mean we see even more.
A common use case for ChatGPT is suggesting recipes, so Microsoft may decide to create its own food-related app. Alongside AI-generated dishes, you could also find very specific restaurant recommendations and arrange a reservation, all with just a couple of clicks.
Another potential implementation may be a travel app, which could create an entire trip itinerary based on your personality and the things you enjoy doing. Eventually, AI might even be able to book everything for you.
These are just a few of the ways AI could be used to significantly improve the Windows experience. But these are only our suggestions, and there’s no evidence Microsoft will be bringing any of them to Windows soon.
However, it would be a real surprise to not see at least some new AI-related functionality in the next major version of Windows.