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Microsoft delays AI feature on new computers

AP – New laptops equipped with Microsoft Windows start shipping to customers next week without a flagship feature called Recall that drew concerns about privacy and cybersecurity.

Microsoft chief executive officer Satya Nadella touted the new Recall feature at a showcase event last month, describing it as a step toward artificial intelligence (AI) machines that “instantly see us, hear, reason about our intent and our surroundings”.

Recall works by periodically taking snapshots of a computer screen to give Microsoft’s AI assistant Copilot a “photographic memory” of a person’s virtual activity, ostensibly to help someone remember what they did earlier.

“We’re entering this new era where computers not only understand us, but can actually anticipate what we want and our intent,” Nadella said in May.

The Microsoft logo on a mobile device. PHOTO: AFP

But on Thursday, the company said it was delaying a “broadly available” preview of Recall that was supposed to be included with new PCs starting on Tuesday.

Instead, it will first go to a smaller set of users who are part of the Windows Insider software testing programme. Those expert early adopters will help “ensure the experience meets our high standards for quality and security”, said Pavan Davaluri, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of Windows and devices, in a statement.

The software giant revealed a new class of AI-imbued personal computers at its annual Build event last month as it confronts heightened competition from Big Tech rivals in pitching generative AI technology that can compose documents, make images and serve as a lifelike personal assistant at work or home.

The new AI features in Microsoft’s Windows 11 operating system will appear on new high-end computers made by Microsoft partners Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo and Samsung, as well as on Microsoft’s Surface line of devices.

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