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I asked the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, a question

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?”

Can you see me asking Satya Nadella a question?

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!



Marc Soester says:

A great summary of your amazing experience! Well done asking such a profound question. I would have loved to hear the entire answer. Enjoy your time at the conference.

Pooran Prasad Rajanna says:

Wow.. that was awesome opportunity, and a question for you to pick his brain and hope you had a very good event 🙂

It was very nice meeting you and chatting a bit Ruby. Keep up what you’re doing, it’s great.

Take care

Colin Melia says:

Great post Ruby.

It was great to meet you.

Colin (RD) & son Liam.

Carlos Guevara says:

Awesome article Ruby. It was very nice meeting you last week and not only listening to the question you asked Satya at the ACT Theater, but reading your understanding of the uses of the technology, I continue to be impressed with your amazing understanding. I’ve known Adam for a long time and the one thing that has always impressed me about him was how fast he can grasp a concept and think of the important pros and cons about it. Reading this article I can safely say you not only inherited his ability but are probably a new and improved version 2.0. Congratulations.

Oscar Garcia Colon says:


Was a pleasure to meet with you, getting to know you and your father and share the table with both of you. Seeing you there was inspiring to me so I thought it could be a marvelous idea to bring my son to the next BUILD conference and team up with other RDs daughters and sons!

Magnificent post and hope my son and I can meet with you and your father in the next //BUILD/ event.


Dorothy R. Holt says:

It was nice to have met you.. even tho I know it was just to pick up Zack (isn’t he a winner)
it was obviously a mind bending experience for you at the conference and I am sure you will have a lot more in life. Lots to do and see here on the West coast. Come back again..

Anne Fry says:

Dear Ruby
i am so proud of what you have acheived in this conference. The voice of youg women is seldom heard in Technology and yours has come through loud and clear. A true Vinnies girl in action.
See you soon
Mrs Fry

Cheryl McArthur says:

Wow Ruby what an amazing opportunity for learning and inspiration.
I would love to talk to you about what you learnt about AI as it is part of an enrichment topic that I have facilitated with the Yr 9 &10 students at the College.
You might be interested in the resources on the Lib Guide. Perhaps you can add to it, I would certainly like to put up a link to the video about Emma!

Ms McA

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