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Microsoft delays controversial AI Recall feature on new Windows computers

Microsoft delays controversial AI Recall feature on new Windows computers
Microsoft Surface Pro devices are displayed in a demo room following a showcase event of the company's AI assistant Copilot ahead of the annual Build developer conference at Microsoft headquarters, Monday, May 20, 2024, in Redmond, Wash. Credit: AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson

New laptops equipped with Microsoft Windows start shipping to customers next week without a flagship feature called Recall that drew concerns about privacy and cybersecurity.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella touted the new Recall feature at a showcase event last month, describing it as a step toward artificial intelligence machines that "instantly see us, hear, reason about our intent and our surroundings."

Recall works by periodically taking snapshots of a screen to give Microsoft's AI assistant Copilot a "photographic memory" of a person's virtual activity, ostensibly to help someone remember what they did earlier.

"We're entering this new era where computers not only understand us, but can actually anticipate what we want and our intent," Nadella said in May.

But on Thursday, the company said it was delaying a "broadly available" preview of Recall that was supposed to be included with new PCs starting Tuesday.

Instead, it will first go to a smaller set of users who are part of the Windows Insider software testing program. Those expert early adopters will help "ensure the experience meets our high standards for quality and security," said Pavan Davaluri, Microsoft's corporate vice president of Windows and devices, in a statement.

  • Microsoft delays controversial AI Recall feature on new Windows computers
    A Microsoft Surface Pro is displayed in an exploded view following a showcase event of the company's AI assistant Copilot ahead of the annual Build developer conference at Microsoft headquarters, Monday, May 20, 2024, in Redmond, Wash. Credit: AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson
  • Microsoft delays controversial AI Recall feature on new Windows computers
    Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella speaks during a showcase event of the company's AI assistant, Copilot, ahead of the annual Build developer conference at Microsoft headquarters, Monday, May 20, 2024, in Redmond, Wash. Credit: AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson

The revealed a new class of AI-imbued personal computers at its annual Build event last month as it confronts heightened competition from Big Tech rivals in pitching generative AI technology that can compose documents, make images and serve as a lifelike personal assistant at work or home.

The new AI features in Microsoft's Windows 11 will appear on new high-end computers made by Microsoft partners Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo and Samsung, as well as on Microsoft's Surface line of devices.

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