Tech bosses are desperate to make AI PCs happen — and spoiler alert, they probably will

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We all know about, and are maybe tired of, artificially intelligent computing right now. AI tools to make you productive, workplace AI subscription services, AI operating systems

AI buses, AI plants, and so on. We all think we know it’s the future, but even I don’t know what that future looks like, and it’s my job.

Despite this, polling druids Gartner’s latest premonition is suggesting that AI PCs will represent 22% of all personal computers in 2024, even though I hadn’t even known AI PCs were a thing until I read about them five minutes ago. 

Gartner foretells our AI future

Looking to the carnival fortune teller for answers, it’s clear that a definition for AI hardware is well-established: ‘AI PCs [are] PCs equipped with dedicated AI accelerators or cores, neural processing units (NPUs), accelerated processing units (APUs) or tensor processing units (TPUs), designed to optimize AI tasks on the device […] without relying on external servers or cloud services’, it wrote in the press release.

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Said tasks, it says, and I strongly believe, will be the bane of all our wretched lives: generative artificial intelligence (GenAI). This is something that I do understand: generating text, images based on human prompts, which we’ve seen a lot with OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard AI chatbots, which you should probably not bother with.

Gartner believes that the technology, which is already in full swing with Galaxy AI on Samsung smartphones (other poisoned chalices are available), will make AI-enabled phones 22% of all ‘basic and premium’ smartphone shipments in 2024.

AI PCs are the future of what, exactly?

If you too are feeling deep shame and embarrassment over failing to keep up with the new hip doohickey the kids are going hootenanny over, fear not: not even the men in black suit and tie know either. 

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Though Lenovo may now be developing an AI OS, The Register reported back in October 2023 that the President of its Multinational Devices Group Luca Rossi ‘didn’t’ (couldn’t?) specific examples of tasks that an AI PC produced by the company could accomplish faster than regular computing hardware.

What they do know is that AI is merely the chasing of a trend, something that’s gone beyond an arms race to become a very small pond, and other tortured metaphors. Gartner’s Senior Director Analyst Ranjit Atwal opts for the diplomatic ‘ubiquity’, saying that it will ‘will pose challenges for vendors in differentiating themselves from competitors, making it harder to create unique selling points and drive increased revenues.’

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Most of this is corporate-speak out the wazoo, but if we’re looking for a scapegoat for AI PCs, or AI in general, ‘increased revenues’ just about works, as Q4 2023 saw the PC sector return to (ever so slight) growth after eight solid years of decline. You buzzword-craven consumer, you.

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