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Windows tools like Paint may get new AI powers

Windows AI HAL 9000Image: Microsoft

The AI craze is in full swing in the technology industry, and Microsoft is no exception. After debuting the “Copilot” system in Windows 11 preview builds and Bing’s AI-powered search and chat tools, recent rumors indicate that artificial intelligence may be integrated into more fundamental Windows programs. A recent report says that the company’s software division is hard at work adding AI features to long-standing default apps like Paint, Photos, the Snipping Tool, and the Camera application.

According to an unconfirmed report from Windows Central, internal builds of these programs are starting to emerge with new capabilities, some of which require specialized hardware. A lot of them are playing catch-up to what’s already available on some other platforms. For example, the Photos app is being imbued with the ability to identify specific objects and people, plus isolating them from the rest of the image. The Camera app and the Snipping Tool will get optical character recognition like a recent addition to the PowerToys suite, which is something Google Lens on Android has been able to do for years.

The humble Paint app is also being augmented with AI powers, getting text-based image generation based on the Bing Image Creator system. This might be using local hardware plus a training model to create images or going fully online and letting Microsoft servers crunch the numbers. At this stage, it isn’t clear exactly how much of the new tools will rely on local hardware (like discrete GPUs or custom chips added to Surface devices and similar designs), and how much will require an active connection in order to implement.

And, as usual, it’s possible that all of this could be scrapped by the time the in-development builds of Windows 11 actually make it into the hands of users. If I had to guess, I’d say that we’ll see some of these features appear slowly in the Windows Insider program for more intensive testing, assuming it makes it out of the initial software stages.

Michael is a former graphic designer who’s been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

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