Startup Advice, Technology

Microsoft chief Satya Nadella says we will become “domesticated cats” controlled by robots if we make the wrong choices

Emma Koehn /

Satya Nadella

Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella.

Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella has urged business leaders not to “abdicate” to the power of robots.

Speaking to the Economic Club of New York last week, Nadella was critical of tech company founders who claim we will soon be at the mercy of artificial intelligence, but then don’t offer any solutions . 

Instead, he says it’s the responsibility of those who develop technology to think about how to train humans for the future of work, as well as coming up with strategies for when workers are ultimately displaced from some industries by robots.

I feel like sometimes we in tech, even, abdicate control: ‘[AI] is going to happen tomorrow and our best case is that we’re going to be domesticated cats or whatever’. But no, it’s a choice. I’m not making fun of that as a consequence. It could happen, but only if we abdicate.”

He also discussed the responsibility that big technology operators have to create robust products in a world constantly hounded by threats of cyber attack.

“The environment we live in, where the threat vectors are everywhere, one foundational thing we have to do as — I think of us as first responders — is to build products that are more secure.”

However, the ability to do this comes down to the culture and world view of the companies that make these products, he says.

“We have to realise that fundamental security does not just come with building secure products, it’s from the operational posture. You can’t be fit by just having fitness equipment, you’ve got to actually exercise.”

NOW READ: The seven tweets that inspired Bill Gates in 2017, plus a photo of him kissing a seal

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Emma Koehn

Emma Koehn is SmartCompany's senior journalist.

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