A new kind of PC is coming: from personal computer to innovation enabler

A representative abstraction of artificial intelligence
(Image credit: Shutterstock / vs148)

We have entered a new era. Until recently, AI has largely been operating in the background - quietly automating processes and improving performance. Yet the unprecedented adoption curve of generative AI that we saw in 2023 represents a widespread change in how humans interact with technology. This fundamental shift will have a lasting impact on how we live and work.

If AI is adopted to its full potential, a study of the economic potential of generative artificial intelligence estimated that the technology could add more than $4 trillion dollars annually to the global economy, and add £31 billion in GDP to the UK economy over the next decade. These figures are in addition to the extra $11 trillion that nongenerative AI and other forms of automation are forecast to contribute, globally.

While caution is justified, so is excitement – because with great change, comes great opportunity.

Neil Sawyer

Managing Director at HP UK&I.

A new era for the PC

Most people have only interacted with generative AI through web browsers and the cloud - which have intrinsic reliability, speed, and privacy challenges that accompany any online-only, open access and corporate owned platforms. Put generative AI on the PC though, and users can get all the benefits, without the drawbacks.

This is why AI is changing the role of the personal computer as dramatically and fundamentally as the internet did – redefining what a PC is and does – because the AI PC will empower more people to become creators of technology, rather than just consumers of it.

We’re working closely with our software partners to redesign PC architecture for an AI enabled world that people will get to experience on our new models as soon as this year. We are capitalizing on our engineering strengths to create powerful new machines optimized for running local AI models which can still leverage the hybrid cloud as well as local inferencing to work offline. Local inferencing and data processing also means less latency, and opportunities for stronger data privacy and security as well as improved energy efficiency and lower cost of access.

Enterprise grade security and privacy will enable personalized generative AI solutions – turning your PC into an intelligent personal companion. One you can trust to keep your information safe, while doing tasks for you, because on-device AI can access all the same, specific emails, presentations, reports, and spreadsheets that you do.

Meanwhile, the work to use AI for improving PC performance and functionality will continue to accelerate. Peripheral solutions, for example, have led the industry by integrating machine learning technology to improve the hybrid work experience, including everything from noise reduction and voice enhancement to AI-powered cameras that automatically optimize framing, focus and lighting for better video calls.

Advancing AI will make endpoint security ever more vital

AI PCs will enable greater privacy and data security by offering AI applications the ability to reduce the risks associated with moving data to the cloud. But since on-device AI will be trained with sensitive user data, endpoints will become a bigger and more valuable target for threat actors. It is therefore even more vital that organizations invest in advanced endpoint security.

For example, new to market security offerings include protection against zero-day exploits and AI-powered social engineering attacks by containing risky activities and wrapping around applications containing sensitive data, creating virtual machines that are isolated from the PC operating system.

A new era for human creativity

New research is already demonstrating the positive effects of AI on knowledge worker productivity and quality, across a range of tasks that make up people’s daily work, from creativity and analytical thinking to writing proficiency, and persuasiveness. Use of ChatGPT-4 significantly increased performance, boosting speed by over 25%, human-rated performance by over 40%, and task completion by over 12%.

Now imagine the possible use cases when your Personal Companion integrates your internal company and personalized working data, while still helping you quickly analyze vast volumes of public information, to combine the best and most relevant of both. Whether you’re looking for customer insights, conducting financial assessments or creating a presentation – everything can be done faster, more comprehensively, and privately, with the power of local AI and efficient, real-time delivery.

Just as AI is being used to improve hardware performance, leading software vendors are developing their applications to harness local AI processing capabilities too. Whether you use Adobe Premiere Pro for graphics, Audacity for audio editing, Microsoft Teams and Zoom for collaboration or the Microsoft Office suite for productivity – they could all work faster and provide more personalized support, thanks to local inferencing.

Two thirds (63%) of young creatives in the UK say they are embracing AI to assist in the creative processes in music making – adopting it as a tool to helping them come up with new ideas faster and expand their vocabulary to finish songs more quickly. Conversational, natural language AI combined with ‘low-code’ development platforms will help anyone develop apps with minimal hand-coding, and turn their ideas into new working solutions for their organization, or for themselves. This new interface and local, enterprise AI will enable anyone to talk to their PC, and build an algorithm or web tool, and then publish it as a service.

We also foresee new roles and opportunities for data scientists and AI developers, as well as huge demand for Machine Learning as a Service (MLaaS) – because every company will eventually have its own private and tailored generative AI model for employees to use securely. PCs will remain as the primary access point and on-ramp for this incredible new technology.

Driving business transformation

We have never been as excited about the future of the personal computer and the power of AI to reinvent the PC as we know it. And of course, we are using this technology in our own work, leveraging the latest in generative AI and machine learning to drive our own perpetual digital transformation.

In this new era, to fulfil the potential of AI to improve the way we work and live, organizations must focus on leveraging these new solutions to continually enhance the customer and employee experiences we offer.

With the right ethical and strategic approach, this is a revolution that can benefit everyone.

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Neil Sawyer Managing Director of HP UK&I.