AI in Personal Computers: Principle and Purpose

AI in Personal Computers: Principle and Purpose

The modern PC is now smarter than before. To be specific, following the artificial intelligence revolution that took massive ground beginning in 2022 and further in 2023, the era of the AI PC has arrived. The integration of AI in personal computers is similar to the integration of AI in smartphones. These devices are now powered not only with central processing units and graphics processing units but also with dedicated artificial intelligence accelerators or AI engines. What exactly is an AI PC? What is the purpose of AI in personal computers? How does AI change the way people use their personal computers?

How Does Artificial Intelligence Work in Personal Computers: Integrating AI in Personal Computers Through Software and Hardware

Software-Based: Arrival of AI Applications, Tools, and Services for PC

The first AI PC has been around even before the more recent AI boom that started in 2022. Take note that a software-based AI represents the application of AI in computers using AI algorithms that can run on a CPU or GPU without depending on dedicated hardware acceleration. This is the most practical and common route for integrating AI into personal computers.

Even older operating systems have utilized AI. Windows XP came with software for speech or voice recognition software for offline natural language processing and an adaptive Start Menu that prioritizes applications based on usage patterns. Tools like Disk Defragment and System Resources use decision-making logic to optimize disk performance.

Other software programs from Microsoft also featured some capabilities based on AI. Microsoft Word has been developed using a language model. This is demonstrated through its automatic grammar and spelling checker, summarization or paraphrasing, and translation features. Cortana was also introduced in 2014 as a software agent or virtual assistant for Windows.

The range of services available via the internet or through web-based applications has also been a popular route for powering modern personal computers with artificial intelligence. Examples include web search engines, the content personalization and recommendation features of social media, and automation tools in software-as-a-service products.

Advancements in deep learning algorithms, artificial neural networks, and large language models have ushered in the era of generative artificial intelligence applications and services. The most notable ones are chatbots such as ChatGPT from OpenAI and Gemini from Google. These products have expanded what people can do with their personal computers.

Even notable software programs or applications have integrated generative AI features. Consider the suite of applications from Adobe. Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Premier Pro now come with Adobe Sensei for automating several content creation processes, accelerating creative tasks or workflows, implementing adaptive learning, and enhancing the user experience.

Nevertheless, based on the aforementioned, software-based AI applications, tools, and services run either on the existing hardware of a PC or through the cloud infrastructure of the particular software developers or service providers. Software-based AI expands the capabilities of existing personal computers and makes AI more accessible to the public.

It is still important to note that an AI PC that depends on installed or internet-based software has limited capabilities. A software-based solution competes with hardware resources and can create performance bottlenecks. The high computational requirements of advanced AI algorithms and models can also impact the performance of older or less capable processors.

Hardware-Based: Emergence of AI Engines or AI Accelerators for PC

Software-based AI limited the applications and potential of AI in personal computers. Adding to this is the fact other software programs or applications have become more complex and have required more advanced capabilities from computer processors. The solution to this problem is to equip personal computers with hardware-based AI acceleration.

Intel introduced the Intel ETANN in 1989. It was one of the first commercial neural processors in the world. However, because artificial intelligence was in its earliest stage back then, it was not adopted in personal computers. It took about three to four decades for AI accelerators to become a staple and mainstream hardware component in personal computers

The capabilities of graphics processors for parallel computing made them suitable for certain AI workloads. They have become the dominant processors for training artificial intelligence models and for inferencing beginning in the late 2000s. These hardware products are also equipped with specific AI processing capabilities for improving graphics processing features

Specific graphics processors from companies such as Nvidia and AMD are built with integrated AI accelerators. Discrete graphics processors under the Nvidia GeForce RTX line are equipped with Tensor cores while counterparts under the AMD Radeon RX and Radeon Pro lines are also equipped with dedicated processing cores for accelerating AI workloads.

Intel debuted its Intel Deep Learning Boost technology in 2019. It was integrated into the CPU of the second-generation Intel Xeon Scalable Processor. This AI accelerator for machine learning and deep learning inference processes is now integrated on most of the newer generations of Intel Core processors and Intel Iris Xe and Intel Arc graphics processors.

Apple also shipped its Neural Engine in its Mac line of personal computers beginning in 2020 with the introduction of the Apple M1 system-on-a-chip. This AI accelerator first appeared on the Apple A11 Bionic system-on-a-chip used in the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. It is now one of the main components of modern Apple chips for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac devices.

The AMD Ryzen AI is also one of the first dedicated neural processing units for computers. It was first introduced in 2022 as a component of several AMD Ryzen 7000 processors. Intel also launched Intel AI Boost in late 2023 as a neural processing unit of Intel Core Ultra processors that is separate from the CPU-based and GPU-based Deep Learning Boost.

Nevertheless, with the inclusion of commercial AI accelerators, personal computers have gained a significant performance boost. These hardware components bank on the advantages of parallel computing and their primary purpose is to relieve the main processors from handling AI tasks or workloads. This enables a more effective and efficient overall performance.

How is Artificial Intelligence Used in Modern Personal Computers: Explaining the Purpose of Integrating AI in Personal Computers

The modern AI PC now has software-based and hardware-based AI capabilities. This is a result of expanding further the features and functionalities of operating systems and software programs or applications, advancements in hardware design and specific chipmaking technologies, and the emergence and realization of practical artificial intelligence applications.

It is safe to argue that the central purpose of AI in personal computers is to provide users with a better user experience. It has made the modern PC smarter. One of the notable examples is the inclusion of personalization features that include tailored interfaces and experiences, proactive suggestions or assistance, and adaptive performance and resource management.

The AI PC also enhances productivity through automation. A particular software with built-in AI features can automate repetitive tasks or complicated processes. This has been featured in a range of modern productivity applications or tools. The hardware-based AI capabilities help in the effective and efficient operations of these AI-based software programs.

Another example is the introduction of improved human-computer interaction. AI has added and enhanced further how individuals use their personal computers. These include voice controls and interaction, input commands using natural language, context-aware assistance, and improved computer vision applications such as image recognition and augmented reality.

The modern AI PC is also built to run or process model inferences. The increasing importance of large language models and multimodal language models has made them a staple component of several software programs. The next wave of advanced AI algorithms and models would include better deep learning algorithms and computer vision models

Equipping a personal computer with AI capabilities prepares it for the current and future expansion of practical AI applications. This is another purpose of AI in personal computers. The AI PC is now equipped to perform tasks that require human intelligence. These include understanding language, recognizing images, making decisions, and solving problems.

More specific examples of how AI improves the modern PC include more realistic graphics processing in video games, content generation in creative applications such as photo editing and video editing software, automated processing and interpretation of data in analytical tools, and a more capable virtual assistant with autonomous features and functionalities.

Nevertheless, based on the aforementioned discussions, the modern AI PC or the integration of AI in personal computers marks another turning point in modern personal computing and is set to reinvigorate the appeal of owning and using these consumer electronic devices despite the established popularity of substitutes such as smartphones and tablets.