'New technologies should not degrade humanity'

Orlando (US): With organisations across the globe going through an unprecedented level of digital transformation to enhance productivity, Microsoft's India-born chief Satya Nadella cautioned that new technologies should not "degrade" humanity but provide new levels of inclusiveness.

In his keynote address at Microsoft's Ignite conference in Orlando, Florida Nadella spoke about the upcoming quantum computing era and gave examples of how it could help solve some of the planet's biggest challenges.

"We want more productivity and efficiency but we do not want to degrade humanity," Nadella said at the conference being attended by some 25,000 technology experts and analysts.

"We want technology to provide new levels of inclusiveness," Nadella said, as his Ignite keynote was being translated for the first time in 12 languages with the use of artificial intelligence.

"As we talk about technology, one of the things we need as technologists and decision makers is keeping in mind the timeless values that drive what we do," he said, adding that the most critical thing "for us is to bring all of us, across our functional roles, across all our expertise and skills," to support this process of continuous change and renewal.

The conference is one of the first major events in Orlando in the wake of Hurricane Irma and brings together about 25,000 business customers over five-days this week.

"One in 10 people here have made it here from the areas that have been most impacted in the last few weeks: Puerto Rico, Mexico, Texas, the Caribbean, and of course Florida," he said.

Observing that organisations across the globe are going through unprecedented level of digital transformation, which is impacting every walk of life and every industry, Nadella said one of the things that they need as technologists and decision makers is keeping in mind the timeless values that drive what they want to do.

"How are we going to use tech to empower people? Every piece of tech should help embellish the capability of human beings," he said, asserting that there needs to be effort to make sure there's no bias built in to technology.

"How can we build trust in how we secure data, privacy, control and transparency?" he asked. Calling for empowering every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more, he said technological paradigms will come and go, but this mission of Microsoft would endure.

"We're going to invent new computing paradigms for how we support this innovation," he added. At Ignite, Microsoft showcased how it is infusing cloud, artificial intelligence and mixed reality across it products to help customers envision and create the future of business.

It also shared how quantum computers could help solve some of our planet's biggest challenges.

News spanned Microsoft's commercial businesses Office 365, Windows 10, Microsoft Azure, Dynamics 365 and Microsoft AI with a focus on how the company is empowering people and organisations to succeed in a rapidly evolving workplace, and enabling customers to harness data, AI, hybrid and cloud technologies to evolve business process and innovate for the future.

Announcing the expansion of Microsoft 365 with two new solutions to empower firstline workers and education customers, the company also introduced new intelligent search capabilities, a vision for intelligent communications centering on Microsoft Teams, and security and IT management enhancements to help customers stay secure and compliant, including meeting the General Data Protection Regulation.

"Digital technology is impacting all aspects of our society and economies, creating unprecedented opportunity for organisations of all sizes, Nadella said.

"I am optimistic and inspired by the ingenuity of customers, partners and developers everywhere that are pushing the frontiers of what's possible with mixed reality and artificial intelligence infused across Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365 and Azure, to transform and have impact in the world, he added