Surface Copilot+ PC and new AI job roles lead the Innovation Index

Microsoft's AI laptop impressed our team in testing; meanwhile, experimental new job titles emerge in the AI economy.
Written by Radhika Rajkumar, Editor
Microsoft Surface Laptop
Kerry Wan/ZDNET

Welcome to ZDNET's Innovation Index, which identifies the most innovative developments in tech from the past week and ranks the top four, based on votes from our panel of editors and experts. Our mission is to help you identify the trends that will have the biggest impact on the future.

Microsoft's consumer AI tops the Index this week, followed by some interesting developments on the AI job front. 

ZDNET Innovation Index

Topping the charts this week was Microsoft's new Surface Copilot+ PC. The ZDNET team was impressed when the company first released the laptops at Build last month. After testing the baked-in AI against the M3 Macbook Air, Senior Editor Kerry Wan finds Microsoft outperforming Apple -- especially considering the consumer AI laptop is still a relatively new market, the company is right where it wants to be with seamless on-device AI, speed, and touchscreen support. At least until we can compare capabilities with what Apple Intelligence has coming down the pike, Microsoft certainly made an impression. 

At #2 is a new wave of AI-related job roles that promise shakeups in the future. According to one researcher, openings for roles like "prompt whisperer" and "data DJ" could be making the rounds on LinkedIn soon. While these new titles are experimental -- and even sound a little half-baked at times -- they tell us something about how tech careers are evolving to meet the demands of AI. 

In third place is Apple, which is making progress on extra-secure data centers for Private Cloud Compute, the differentiating bedrock of its move into AI. By announcing its plans to let security researchers verify its privacy claims, Apple might just avoid the issues another big tech company ran into around one unfortunately-named feature. If the data centers pass the test, the company could set a new privacy standard for consumer AI. 

Closing out the week is A.I. Oscar, a new stockpicker from Singapore bank OCBC. Trained on stock exchange data from several markets, the AI platform ingests a user's risk profile and trading habits to identify personalized stock picks. It's yet another instance of the little tools AI can give consumers -- arguably a much more impactful shift in our day-to-day than bigger, industry-sized announcements. 

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