Yesterday I was lucky enough to ask one of the world’s top CEO’s, Satya Nadella from Microsoft, a question about AI (artificial intelligence). Before I tell you about his answer, let me give you some background.
Today I was at Microsoft Build Conference 2017 in Seattle. This year Microsoft invited 100 students who sat in the front row for the opening keynote. I was the only Australian and also the youngest kid! 🙂 I knew it was Microsoft’s most important conference and as soon as I walked in the room I understood how big the Build conference really is. There were more than 6,000 people there and I have never seen a bigger conference room in my life. There were screens that were literally 50m long!
The first person to come out onstage was Satya Nadella, seeing him in person was the highlight of the keynote for me. After Satya, there were many other speakers too. Scott Guthrie came on stage and spoke about AI, machine learning and security. Some of the machine learning demos were amazing and he also talked about how it could be used for evil, such as people attacking servers and losing privacy. However, the question Microsoft proposed was how can we make technology great for the good of human beings?
Of course, all of the speakers said much that was very complicated and I struggled to understand all of it but I did understand the gist of all the talks. It was all very exciting and there were so many cool examples and so many ideas I thought of:
– Wouldn’t it be great if hospitals could check that the staff washed their hands after using the toilets?
– Wouldn’t it be good if security cameras could spot dangerous things that appeared in places you walk or drive?
– Wouldn’t it be good if I could make a program that watched people in our house entrance and sent a message to my mum if someone forgot to take off their shoes?
After the keynotes, some of the special Microsoft people (they call them RD’s and MVP’s) went into a separate room until 4 pm. I was invited too as my dad was there. In the room, everyone asked questions to Scott Guthrie for an hour or so, and then Satya came in. Satya’s answers were quite long and he took about 7 questions in total – the last question was mine! Everyone laughed when I put my hand up.
I found his keynote at the beginning of the day very interesting and I had a big question that was nagging at the back of my mind. I asked: “In relation to AI products, what is the best possible product you could see?”
His response was very detailed and he talked about his desire for software to solve problems that affect people with disabilities. He said that the issue was very close to his heart.
This reminds me of one of the nicest parts of the keynote. They showed some software built for Emma. Emma is a young woman with Parkinson’s who used to be a designer. She had a tremor in her hand and that stopped her from doing what she loved. A Microsoft team made a device that stopped her shaking so she could design again.
It was a very inspirational video that you will love
Last night I did some research to identify why Satya answered in relation to disabilities and worked out that he has 3 children and 2 of them have a disability.
Thank you to so many people at Microsoft and all of the Regional Director’s who made me feel very welcome this week. During the week I had many RD’s show me around or talk to me, sharing their knowledge and telling me funny stories about themselves and about my dad! It was an amazing experience and I will never forget it. Rocky Lhotka and Dr Neil even let me plait their hair!