Microsoft will unveil new Windows and cloud AI features in May


Mustafa Suleyman, co-founder and chief executive officer of Inflection AI UK Ltd., speaks at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Jan. 18, 2024.

Stefan Wermuth | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Microsoft will reveal brand-new artificial intelligence tools for use on PCs and in the cloud at its annual Build conference, according to a session list posted Wednesday.

In January, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told analysts that 2024 is the year when “AI will become [a] first-class part of every PC,” and the itinerary for Microsoft’s May conference reflects that goal. Microsoft has reported significant revenue growth from clients running AI models in its Azure public cloud, and the company wants to keep the trend going by rolling out new AI features for developers.

The new head of Microsoft AI, Mustafa Suleyman, will take the stage alongside Nadella and other longtime executives during the show’s keynote address in Seattle. Suleyman — a co-founder of DeepMind, the AI startup that Google acquired in 2014 — joined Microsoft last month from startup Inflection AI.

People looking to get the most out of Windows operating systems have for years been able install PowerToys, an open source bundle of utilities that include an image-resizing widget and a keyboard shortcut customization program. At Build, Microsoft will talk about a new Advanced Paste feature, which draws on AI models that run directly on PCs, rather than having to send data to the cloud and receive responses.

The software maker will also talk about new AI features “that allow users deeper interaction with their digital lives on Windows,” according to one session description. Developers will be able to integrate these features into Windows applications.

As part of this strategy, Microsoft in March introduced Surface PCs, which feature a Copilot button for quick access to the company’s chatbot. Those machines contain Intel processors. For years, Microsoft has been working to improve user experience on Windows PCs by running energy-efficient chips on the Arm architecture rather than the standard x86 model that Intel uses. At Build, Microsoft plans to discuss how Windows apps will be able to tap Arm-based neural processing engines, or NPUs, for artificial intelligence.

Organizations building their own chatbots in the Azure AI Studio will hear about new features related to AI safety, which will aim to lower the likelihood of models generating statements about sex and violence or posing security risks.

Microsoft is also trying to make it easier to use Azure overall. The company also will talk about enhancements coming to the Copilot chatbot that’s accessible in Azure, which is currently available to select clients in preview mode.

You can find the full session catalog for the 2024 Build conference here.

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