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Are we ready for Artificial Intelligence


Artificial Intelligence (AI) holds the key to a new human-augmented era. A new world is being shaped, where computers work intelligently on our behalf and with us, rather than under our direct input. Immense opportunities are created by the combination of almost limitless cloud computing power and the digitization of our physical world, with the Internet of Everything. 

The new era has started: cloud and machine learning technologies are making our collaboration with “computers” more intuitive, more conversational, more intelligent, and ultimately much more embedded in all our lives. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is already centered around advancements in AI. And all companies are becoming digitally AI-enabled, or they will soon be.

An amazing future is therefore ahead of us, where AI will create new businesses in ways previously unimaginable and will help us to solve some of the planet’s biggest challenges. It is just amazing, wonderful, and sometimes overwhelming, but… are we ready for Artificial Intelligence?

I see at least three top priorities we should all share, in preparing for an inclusive, trusted, and socially positive AI-augmented world. And these three priorities are centered on “democratization”.

1) Democratizing MISSION of Artificial Intelligence

A profound question we collectively need to ask is: “what are the design principles we need to follow in developing Artificial Intelligence, considering the unprecedented impact it will have on us?”. The way we interact with “computers” will profoundly change. The notion itself of a “computer” will radically transform. Together with AI, cognitive services, mixed-reality, and new human-machine interfaces, we will redefine how we and “computers” interact, collaborate, and ultimately complement each other. 

In this respect, it is vital that ethics and design go hand in hand. We (Microsoft) have published our thoughts on a set of core AI design principles to ensure that this technology is transparent and secure, and sets the highest bar for protecting privacy, while also being inclusive and respectful to all. At its core, the role of AI must be not to replace but rather to enhance human skills and drive growth. This is the mission we must give to any Artificial Intelligence: augmenting our life and our capabilities.

2) Democratizing ACCESS to Artificial Intelligence

It is crucial securing that AI lead to an inclusive growth rather than just lining the pockets of the few riches. For this reason, we are developing tools that will enable every person and every organization in the world to benefit from AI. We need to evolve AI from centralized local data centers to mobile and cloud, making it accessible to all. Solutions like Microsoft TranslatorCortana Intelligence Suite, and our Bot Framework are already empowering anyone to both use and build on AI.

We must eventually secure access to AI tools to all businesses, public sector organizations, and people, empowering them to build their own augmented -intelligence capabilities. Ultimately, everyone can and should benefit from the great promise of artificial intelligence, as its potential is just enormous

3) Democratizing USAGE of Artificial Intelligence

We must prepare for the future, including the jobs of the future. This applies to all governments, schools, public organizations, businesses, and individuals at large. Without a deliberate and proactive focus, we’re at risk of leaving people behind in the explosive growth driven by this new technology. Collectively, we need to share this priority for a growth that must be beneficial for everyone, with a strong focus on augmented education, inclusive innovation and encouraged usage of technology.

It is not humans versus machines, it is about humans with machines, each of which excel at different things. Therefore, we must (all of us) learn to work with AI, bringing our creativity, empathy, emotion, and judgment (as humans) together with the fast computation and ability to reason over large amounts of data of machines. Together, humans and machines can complement each other and help society forward in enhancing our experiences and quality of life,

Ultimately, AI can make jobs “more human” by taking advantage of our “essential human skills” and leaving all the rest to computers. We should learn how to augment our performance with technology (and yes, some of the technology will be very smart), but then add human elements to provide higher levels of customer value and services, with our very human touch.


Considering Artificial Intelligence will impact all of us, I look forward to any feedback you may have on this post. I strongly believe our human ingenuity and values will harness this technology to transform our world in ways previously unimaginable. Ultimately, AI can give us back more and more of our most precious asset in life, i.e. qualitative time with our loved ones. 

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Posted on January 25, 2017

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