Addressing the assembled throngs in his keynote speech at Microsoft’s Inspire global conference in Las Vegas, Nadella said the tech could improve human relationships, but also warned that ethics must be implemented to ensure users’ privacy.
“We have to do our very best work when it comes to privacy because as technology becomes pervasive in our lives, we have to approach everything with the fundamental assumption that privacy is a human right”, he said.
Nadella emphasised that the IT industry needs a set of “ethical principles” to ensure that technology does not unduly influence real-life events.
“We want to make sure that anything that we do doesn’t amplify bias, doesn’t hijack our attention, and doesn’t sway opinion”, he said.
“The Tech Accord is a fantastic example of that because the world in our time needs a new Geneva Convention. We need to make sure that the most vulnerable populations are protected from these new weapons. And when it comes to AI, we have to have a set of principles that guide the development of AI.”
He did not mention the vendor’s recent acquisition of conversational AI company Semantic Machines, but he emphasised that Microsoft is working to ensure its machine learning will soon have the same conversational capabilities as a human being.
“In the last couple of years, some of the advances – especially as measured by our ability to have human parity in a lot of these perception and language capabilities – is pretty stunning”, Nadella added.
He explained that the “ultimate AI challenge” for Microsoft is to develop a two-way natural conversation between bot and human.
“We’re also trying to push this concept of language understanding or this capability of language understanding to the next level, to have the ability to do full duplex conversations”, he added.