Satya Nadella’s speech on Microsoft’s Tech for Good, Ideas for India
It’s such an immense pleasure for me to be here in India and to see the energy, the creativity of this place. It’s infectious really for me and, obviously I grew up here and I come back here often but every time I come back, I go back energized and it’s phenomenal.
And, so this morning I wanted to share with you, since you are all young entrepreneurs, you are changing the world, you are changing the landscape of India, at least my own perspective. What does it mean to dream big, to create big and have big impact, because that’s what we seek. In my life there have been two passions that have driven at least my dreams and I think back and one of the catalyst – it’s poetry and Computer Science. In fact, I want to relate the two in the context of this big dreams.
Ekdillikeshayar ne ekzamaneymeinkahatha –
Hazaaronkhwahishenaisi hokeharkhwahishpe dam nikle
Bohatniklay mere armaan, lekinphirbhikamnikle
My interpretation of that Galib’s saying changes every year. I learn something new, there are so many layers and labyrinths in there that every time I sort of, I kind of feel like I’ve learnt it again, that I have figured it out. But my earliest interpretation is the time I was reading Douglas Hofstadter’s book ‘Gödel, Escher, Bach’ and I sort of realized the power of what he was saying, which is, it is not just your dreams being fulfilled, it is your ability to dream things that are worth dying for. And, there is a sort of that incompleteness, in the incompleteness that Godel talks about that Turing took and then created a century of what is computation lies I think the power of what we can do with digital technology. That has to be the source of our inspiration, at least it has been for me as we think about the dreams going forward.
In today’s day, the world that you live in, the world that you are going to shape, the world that you are going to change, that canvas is so rich. When I think about even our own ambitions, when I look at the kind of applications, solutions that you are going to build for all walks for life, for all industries, the level of intelligence that you are going to infuse into that, is pretty stunning. For example now, there is not a single app that you are going to build going forward that’s not going to have computer vision built in and the ability to see things; there is not going to be a single app that you are going to build that does not have the ability to recognize speech. You are going to have apps that recognize natural language and text, and that ability to bring cognition into the application experiences and then augment in fact, human capability is a pretty phenomenal time to be a developer.
Then moving to what we can do by taking the oldest form of communication that we have which is, human language and what if we took the power of human language and were able to translate that into computers. In other words, what if we taught all the computers around us and all the computing, human language. Think about the kinds of applications you could build, but more importantly, think about what it does to democratizing the experience. Instead of us having the cognitive know as users of learning new shell constructs, downloading icon after icons, and screen after screens of apps, what if all you did was spoke or texted and you were able to get the work done. That’s the world I think you can create. In fact, you will build bots that have fundamental understanding of human language – just like how you built websites in the past, just like how you build mobile apps in the past. You are going to build these bot interfaces that understand human dialogue. And, it’s going to be a pretty profound shift in how computing is experienced by everybody. It’s probably going to be the most democratizing force and make it accessible to anybody, who is 80 years old or an 8-year-old.
And I want to just roll a video to just show you what is possible with something like this conversations-as-a-platform, just to kind of give the developers in the audience a feel for the kinds of advances that I think you all will create to change the computing landscape.
To me, this idea of conversations-as-a-platform is a pretty transformative change in computing that I think we’re in the very early stages of. And I can’t wait to see what you all create on top of this platform in terms of changing how people experience computing. And talking about changes in the experience of computing, the other platform, the other innovation that I am just completely blown away by is mixed reality and augmented reality. Because so far in our history, we have created computers that have created these mirror works – where we’ve taken something that we’ve seen in the physical world and created digital metaphors. In fact, the desktop is a great example of that, where obviously it exists in the physical world and we were able to translate that into digital metaphors that a billion users got comfortable with.
But now for the first time in our history, we are able to take what is our field of view and turn that into an infinite display. Just imagine, in what you see, you not only see the analog world but you can in fact, see the digital world along with it. And now let’s extend it even one step further. What if we could add presence? One of the most profound things that’s going to happen as we look out multiple years is people can be anywhere from everywhere. That’s that fundamental notion of presence. So this combination of mixed reality, where you have analog and digital getting mixed, as well as having digital presence where you can be anywhere from everywhere, will I believe fundamentally change computing forever. And this is going to mean – what is architecture is not going to be the same again, what is industrial design is not going to be the same again.
I mean think about what NASA scientists are able to do now – they’re able to see the Rover move on Mars but the holographic output of the Rover is right there in their office. That means they can walk around and examine the soil on Mars as a holographic output. That transformation I think is what we can all look forward to. But most importantly, that’s what you will shape. It’s the ingenuity, the apps that you build that is going to in fact, change our lives and our work. And it’s that creativity that we want to obviously be able to ignite. And so I want to roll a video to give you a feel of what is happening with HoloLens and augmented reality.
It’s so exciting to see this new media being born right in front of us and I love that phrase which is, when you change the way you see the world, you change the world you see. And I think that’s what all of you are going to do. And the reason I invoke this rich canvas is to really invoke your ambition to how you will shape the world. These three platforms that we are creating – the intelligent cloud platform that gives every application cognition and computational resources so that you can do anything; this idea of reinventing productivity and business process, how you interface with every institution and every process becomes much more natural to a conversation because of the bots you build, because the applications that you build have language understanding; and lastly, the apps that you build, the experiences you build for mixed reality.
We look at this as a platform for you because that’s at the core of our mission – our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. It’s not about celebrating our technologies, it is about really celebrating the technologies that you all in India create. In fact, I want us to be the platform creators that foster the ingenuity of what is happening in India.
In fact, this morning, I had the good fortune of meeting entrepreneurs, student developers, young student developers, who have such high ambition. You met some of them just before I got on the stage. To see what is happening with technology in fashion, what technology is doing for things like Internet of Things, in fact, making it real – the entrepreneur behind iBOT taking Internet of Things and democratizing it, where industrial companies one after the other in India are transforming their products. In fact, the other entrepreneur I met who is building a solution for you to be able to get all your documents starting from your school passing certificate to your mark sheet which I was very scared that I would now go stare back at my mark sheet which I don’t want to ever see again. But the fact that you can get any document is so amazing not because of the fact that you can recall the document but now you can ease the way you do business, the way you apply for your driving license or what have you – the fact that this one entrepreneur is connecting things that were not connected and changing the landscape.
I had the chance to meet a bunch of student developers and it’s fascinating to see their ambitions. They are all participants in this Imagine Cup which I love because I get to see what are students thinking of, what they are imagining. And one of the developers from there has figured out a way to be able to detect, again using computer vision, garbage in our streets and automatically alert the municipal authorities so they can come and pick it up by just taking a simple photograph and using cloud resources and a mobile app to change how garbage collection happens. There was another student developer who is changing publishing – the idea that you can get in fact from textbooks get single chapters and change the unit economics of publishing forever because having grown up here I know exactly how hard it is to get some of the books, especially you know, in the fields like engineering where if you could transform the way people can get to access, it would be fantastic, it would further democratize, I think, learning.
I also had a chance to meet two young developers, one of them is a 17 year old who has figured out how to take data from NASA, conflateitwith other information and see the spread of algae in Bay of Bengal. So, this is an app that’s been built so that you could really have the intelligence to drive sustainability, because you know algae grows uncontrolled and all comes a devastating impact. But here’s a student who is taking information that is available, bringing it together – he wanted to have a real impact right here in terms of how we managed our climate. And then I met an eight year old, and this is perhaps the time where I felt the most inadequate. And, the eight year old’s dream was, dream is, to create a society that knows how to balance economic growth with environmental sustainability. This is the goal he has and then he translated that vision, that goal, into a novel game that he’s built. And so, he has built a game where, it’s a game where you get to build cities, and in these cities, you can create factories, and yet, depending on the type of power you use in the factory, you get points. And of course, if you are wind powered or solar powered, you get more points. And the idea that this kid has been able to envision what is I think that fine balance that we need in order for us to be able to use new technology, but to use new technology to also create a more equitable society, a more sustainable environment, all around us. That truly is what each one of us is seeking, and what each one of us will have to do. And it is so inspiring for me to come here, to see this broad spectrum of student developers, entrepreneurs, artists and even some big brands, ecommerce companies, who are all changing the landscape of India and thereby, the world, and it really is a privilege for me to be here and it’s a real privilege to be a platform underneath this Indian success.