Microsoft's new CoPilot Surface PC promises simple artificial intelligence for everyone

Artificial intelligence will become as easy to use as a keyboard and mouse.

At this week's Microsoft Surface event in Los Angeles, we found ourselves on the beach, co-created a piece of art based on our own drawings and text prompts, and even made a cocktail with Copilot, Microsoft's built-in generative AI product. We did it all on the company's new Surface device, with the help and friendly attention of various publicists, and generally had a great time.

As these Surface Laptops demonstrate, the simple way AI can be brought to PCs is a game-changer for everyone.

We first saw how the new Neural Processing Unit (NPU) takes a lot of the heavy processing work off the CPU and GPU, allowing for fast, smooth results when working with AI. We removed the video's background in CapCut, a video editing app popular among TikTok bloggers and other influencers, and then replaced it with a moving video background, which took about 15 seconds. There's literally no slowdown or lag whatsoever. If you're familiar with video editing on your current laptop, you know it can be a slow and tedious process.

I didn't need to dig into a second app to carefully remove people from their background, nor did I need to wait several minutes for the app to remove the background. It just worked. In an age where everyone is dabbling in some form of video editing on TikTok, Reels, and other viral video platforms, this will make things much easier.

Likewise, editing our new selfie to place us on a beautiful beach is quick and easy. We created the background with a simple text prompt (without using prompt points) and the machine left it behind us with ease. We did the same thing with the stock image, placing the cloudy background behind the person at the desk. We moved the Creativity Slider up and down to let Copilot manage how it interpreted our simple prompts.

A Microsoft representative at the booth noted that the feature only changes context and that there are company-wide restrictions on using AI to change humans as part of the company's commitment to responsible AI.

We also sat in front of several Surface laptops and used Microsoft Paint. A new AI feature there lets you use your own drawing skills (mine are limited) and text prompts to co-create images. I was able to draw a basic beach with sand, ocean, and sunshine, and Paint was able to interpret my text prompt to make it a sunny day and include a UFO. After some judicious and creative use of sliders, the result is a fun little image of a watercolor beach and a large spaceship waiting to land.

Again, it's quick and easy, and everyone will want to play this.

The hardware is equally amazing, and this is coming from a Mac guy. The tablet-like Surface Pro now has a stunning OLED screen, and you can buy a new detachable keyboard that puts the stylus front and center for easier use. Honestly, these laptops look like color-enabled Macbook Airs, but when we spoke to Harry Teng, one of the people who helped design it, he noted that they had to be designed with form and function in mind, as well as ease of use and repair They are accessible (and Apple can learn from them).

The Surface Pro can tilt on its little stand, and Kensington has introduced a new upright stand that you can slide into and place the keyboard underneath for an ultra-mobile desktop setup with a keyboard. Looks cool.

Collectively, these new laptops and tablets, along with those from Asus, Lenovo, and others, will bring artificial intelligence to the masses in ways we've never seen before. When you can jump into Microsoft Paint and use generative AI technology with your keyboard and mouse or edit video on the fly for professional-looking results using applications you already know. The technology will fade into the background and you'll just be making videos and images to share, rather than using some of the most sophisticated computing technology we've come up with yet.

And if you use a Surface Pro or Surface Laptop, you can do it on a sleek, high-performance, battery-powered device.