Microsoft CEO harps on data privacy, AI ethics

Nadella takes part in a virtual chat with KTR as part of BioAsia 2021

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on Tuesday underscored the need for tech firms to develop products that ensure privacy of data, are secure and conform to AI ethics as well as fundamental internet safety.

With technology becoming more pervasive and set to touch lives, society and economy like never before, “I think as [technology] companies building platforms and tools, we need to take responsibility to ensure by design that we build for privacy, security, AI ethics and internet safety,” he said.

Participating in a virtual fireside chat, Charcha2021: Healthcare to ‘Hit Refresh’, with Telangana IT and Industries Minister K.T.Rama Rao, organised as part of BioAsia 2021, Mr. Nadella said “these four things are not things we can wait even for regulation. We have to, even from an engineering and design ethos perspective, build it into our core.” He said tech companies cannot afford to say that “we have built it, we will see what breaks and then fix it… [such] attitude is frankly not tolerated in any other industry and it should not be even in the tech industry.” Given the importance of data privacy, there are bound to be regulations such as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).

WFH changes

When Mr.Rao sought his views on the changes work from home (WFH), amid the pandemic, has brought out, Mr.Nadella said WFH has ensured that collaboration is still possible.

“Pandemic has ensured that you can always work from home but still collaborate with other people. WHF is no longer [restricted to] knowledge workers, [but] is even for frontline workers. Going forward, more flexibility in terms of time, site and place can be expected.”

Also, the pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation across the board. “I even shudder to think what would the world’s level of productivity and economy have been if it was not for the current generation of technology, whether it is cloud and technologies like Teams. We became digital first responders to all the first responders out there, whether it is in healthcare, critical manufacturing. This is a real structural change… I don’t think we are going to go back ever.”

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