There is no question: LAI (i.e. “Logical and Artificial Intelligence”) is the new hit among personal computers. An interesting new report claims that Microsoft will step even further on the accelerator to integrate AI into Windows with a revolutionary new version of Windows 11 (or Windows 12?) in 2024.
Microsoft has put AI in the spotlight with the extensive 2023 update for Windows 11, which includes the AI assistant Windows Copilot (not yet officially available in Germany, but can be unlocked using a trick) and the fantastic AI functions “Cocreator” for Paint in Windows 11 added. Copilot will also be released for Windows 10, as was recently announced.
Intel, AMD and Qualcomm have been diligently integrating AI-enhancing “NPUs” (Neural Processing Units) into PC chips slated to launch next year, improving tasks with local AI running on the computer’s hardware, instead of using servers in the cloud.
Windows 12 or “just” a Windows 11 update?
Now, an exclusive report from Windows Central claims that Microsoft is preparing a “groundbreaking” new version of Windows for 2024, codenamed “Hudson Valley,” packed with helpful AI tools. All leaks should be taken with a grain of salt, but Windows Central reporters are deep in the Microsoft ecosystem and have an impressive track record of Windows leaks.
It has been known for some time that Microsoft is working on a major platform update for the Windows client with the code name “Germanium”.
According to the new report from Windows Central, Microsoft has not yet decided in what form “Hudson Valley” will find its way to users. Windows 12 would be just one option. It would also be conceivable that Microsoft would give Windows 11 a larger update based on the Germanium platform, which would then incorporate the “Hudson Valley” innovations.
There could be an important argument in favor of the latter variant: the Windows market should not be further fragmented by a Windows 12 release. Windows Central also points out that there are currently over 1.4 billion Windows users, of which only 400 million are Windows 11 users and another billion are Windows 10 users, most of which have devices that cannot be upgraded to Windows 11. The release of a Windows 12 would therefore mainly come at the expense of Windows 11 shares.
Read the full Windows Central report linked above to learn how Microsoft is overhauling the core of Windows and the exact details of why it’s unknown whether this AI-enhanced version of Windows will come as Windows 12 or as an upgrade from Windows 11 is published.
Below we’ll focus on the six AI features that will reportedly be included in the “game-changing” 2024 version of Windows.
1. AI in the Windows Shell
Windows Central reports that Microsoft will build AI deep into the Windows shell itself – the graphical interface that underlies the operating system. Together with an improved Windows Copilot, this is the “secret sauce” that could bring numerous practical AI functions into Windows. Like for example …
2. A smart history feature
Windows Timeline, a feature that lets you see the history of open files and tabs from any PC you’re logged in to so you can get back into the action, was a popular feature in Windows 10 for many users. Until Microsoft introduced it abolished in Windows 11. Windows Central reports that an AI-powered history feature will return to Windows in 2024.
It reportedly lets you search all the apps and websites that Copilot “remembers,” and lets you filter the results using natural language search. “You can, for example ‘FY24 result’ “Enter, and any instance in which that term appeared on the screen will be displayed and reopened for you,” writes Windows Central.
This natural language search could also be extended to traditional Windows search, which is good because search in Windows 11 is pretty bad. If you can’t remember the name of a file, Windows Central says you’ll be able to search with queries like “Find the spreadsheet Bill sent me on Slack two weeks ago.” The operating system should be able to understand the query and access the file based on that information alone.
If this happens, the smarter search alone would be a killer feature for this new version of Windows. The ability to find files using natural language would be a huge upgrade over what we can use today.
4. Great resolution
You may have heard of Nvidia’s DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling) or AMD’s FSR (FidelityFX Super Resolution), which use AI and GPU hardware to intelligently increase resolution and/or boost performance in video games. Nvidia’s Video Super Resolution does the same thing for… videos.
Windows Central reports that Windows itself in its 2024 overhaul will offer some kind of AI super-resolution option, using integrated NPUs instead of GPUs to improve the visual quality of games and videos. We assume that the quality of GPU upscaling will not be achieved, but since DLSS and FSR are not supported by every game, Microsoft could offer a universal super-resolution feature that works without active developer support. However, when it comes to upscaling functions, implementation always matters.
5. Smart Live Captions
Microsoft has already added “Live Captions” to videos for Windows 11, but this report says AI will make this even better in the new version of Windows. “Live Captions” will reportedly be able to translate multiple languages simultaneously in real time, both in videos and live calls.
6. AI wallpapers
Windows Central reports that Microsoft is working on making its AI capable of recognizing multiple layers in desktop wallpapers. This would allow for a parallax effect that shifts depending on the movement of the mouse or mobile device. Cool!
Here’s to 2024!
Read Windows Central’s full report to learn more about how Microsoft is redesigning Windows’ architecture to enable this AI magic, as well as some non-AI-related features like improved power efficiency and a new Start Menu section. It’s worth reading for Windows experts.
Do users need completely new PCs to use AI functions?
All these AI features actually sound helpful and practical for people who no media professionals are, which cannot be said for most consumer AI features released to date. If this report proves true, it will be an exciting revelation, but there is a possible fly in the ointment.
Windows Central reports that many of these AI features may require a PC with an integrated NPU, so they could only be used on a small number of cutting-edge laptops. It’s likely that many of these groundbreaking Windows AI features will only be able to run on new PCs released in 2024 or later, when Intel, AMD and Qualcomm begin developing NPU-equipped AI PCs in earnest.
This article first appeared here on PC-WORLD and was translated into German by us