IT Brief New Zealand - Technology news for CIOs & IT decision-makers
Story image
A new kind of PC is coming: From personal computer to innovation enabler
Wed, 24th Jan 2024

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 represents an explosive change in how humans interface with technology, through natural language and conversation. This is not just a seismic wave but a tectonic shift that will alter how we live and work forever.

This incredible scale and potential impact of AI makes international cooperation essential, especially regarding regulation. Last November’s AI Safety Summit represented an important early step, and more collaboration and action will be required to drive effective management and harnessing of a truly revolutionary technology.

However, if taken 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. This would all be on top of the extra $11 trillion that nongenerative AI and other forms of automation are forecast to contribute globally.

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

A new era for the PC

Most people’s experiences with generative AI so far have been through web browsers and the cloud, which brings all the reliability, speed and privacy challenges that come with 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 will change 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.

To achieve this, we’re working closely with our silicon and software partners - redesigning PC architecture for an AI-enabled world - that people will get to experience on our new models as soon as 2024. We are capitalising on our engineering strengths to create powerful new machines optimised 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, stronger data privacy and security, as well as improved energy efficiency and lower cost of access.

Crucially, enterprise-grade security and privacy enable personalised 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 to improve PC performance and functionality will continue to accelerate. Poly HP 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 optimise framing, focus and lighting for better video calls. HP Wolf Security has also integrated AI-powered technology to continually scan for and automatically remediate potential threats, enhancing endpoint protection. 

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 personalised working data while still helping you quickly analyse 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 personalised support, thanks to local inferencing.

Conversational, natural language AI combined with ‘low-code’ development platforms will help anyone who wants to develop apps with minimal hand-coding and turn their ideas into new working solutions for their organisation or for themselves. You might be an artist with little to no computer background, but this new interface and local, enterprise AI will enable you to talk to your 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.

Employees, developers, and scientists will need dedicated AI workstations and shared collaboration platforms so they can work together across local and cloud environments. Which is precisely what we are building in partnership with NVIDIA, and through our new Z by HP device portfolio and data science platform for AI applications and workflows.

Driving Business Transformation

We have never been as excited about the future of the personal computer as we are now - and the power of AI to reinvent the PC as we know it.

In this new era, to fulfil the potential of AI to improve the way we work and live, organisations like HP 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.