Microsoft President Brad Smith talks data, Covid-19, and a potential “digital 9/11”

  • 1 Replies
  • 369 Views
*

Tyler

  • Trusty Member
  • *********************
  • Deep Thought
  • *
  • 5273
  • Digital Girl
Microsoft President Brad Smith talks data, Covid-19, and a potential “digital 9/11”
21 May 2020, 7:25 pm

In a virtual discussion hosted by MIT last week, viewers learned that there are many problems that concern Microsoft President Brad Smith: things like climate change, Covid-19, and the work of the future.

Attendees also learned how seriously he takes the issue of computer security: 45 minutes into the event, his Windows system automatically rebooted for a lightning-quick software update.

“There are a lot of benefits to working from home,” he said with a laugh after rejoining, “but it certainly also adds a level of unpredictability.”

Smith’s conversation with MIT Professor Daniela Rus on May 14 spanned a wide range of topics, from the challenges of Covid-19 to the security of online voting. The fireside chat was held as part of MIT’s “Hot Topics in Computing” series, founded by the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). The series is now an Institute-wide effort being co-presented with the MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing (SCC). SCC Dean Dan Huttenlocher opened the event with a welcome to the audience and introduced Smith and Rus.

Having worked at Microsoft for 25 years and served as its president since 2015, Smith gave an inside look at what it’s been like to be there in recent months — and what the tech company has done to try to help curb the spread of Covid-19.

In March, for example, Microsoft developed a chatbot to help people determine if they might need a Covid-19 test. Within weeks of deploying the app at a hospital in Seattle, Washington, the company started rolling it out more broadly. The chatbot was ultimately used 190 million times in April, and is now available at 1,500 institutions across 23 countries.

Smith also discussed the promising work being done with Bluetooth-based contact tracing, but expressed skepticism that it could be adopted at a meaningful scale.

“Not everyone is going to walk around with an app on their phone,” he said. “I think we should recognize that it is a tool, and not a panacea.”

Smith and his colleague Carol Ann Browne recently co-wrote the book “Tools and Weapons," which examines the promise and peril of technology for both good and bad. The authors draw on lessons in history, from Edward Snowden’s revelations about government surveillance to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, to explore the future of technology and how it needs to be managed.

While he agreed with Rus’ assessment of the book as one “where the geeks are the heroes,” Smith also warned of the dangers of a future “digital 9/11” with respect to the electric grid and future presidential elections.

“You don’t need to be a PhD in computer science to have an important role to play,” he said. “As consumers, citizens, and voters, we’re at a point of time where we’d all benefit from being better informed.”

The long-time sustainability advocate also spoke about Microsoft’s ambitious goals to not just be carbon-negative by 2030, but to remove all of the carbon that the company has emitted since 1975 in the next 30 years. At a higher level, Smith advocated for making what he calls “the biggest R&D investment of our century” to develop new techniques to remove carbon from the environment.

“We’re going to need huge breakthroughs in the next three decades if we are going to achieve this fundamental goal of protecting the planet the way we need to,” he said.

In the hourlong conversation, Smith often implored his audience of computer scientists and technologists to recognize the responsibility they have to solve tangible real-world problems. He pointed out that, for all the buzz about big data over the last 20 years, the Covid-19 pandemic has actually led to government officials making decisions directly informed by data.

“Data is running the economy and deciding who can leave their house and who needs to stay home,” Smith said. “The world will need the kind of technology that we can create … [and] you all have an opportunity to make a more positive impact in the world than perhaps any generation of MIT students has had before. How can that not get you excited about getting up in the morning?”

Source: MIT News - CSAIL - Robotics - Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) - Robots - Artificial intelligence

Reprinted with permission of MIT News : MIT News homepage



Use the link at the top of the story to get to the original article.

*

MikeB

  • Bumblebee
  • **
  • 29
Goes to show where the data comes from is the new shepard...

If you take data from the fact that trees/plants need a greenhouse to get Co2 up to 1000-1500PPM (the optimal level for growth) because the atmosphere is only 400PPM, then the answer is more Co2 is fine.

If you take data from people paid by the $100billion climate change fund in the US, including universities, paid speakers, newpapers, green parties, protestors... then the answer is what ever they say.

 


What's everyone up to ?
by infurl (General Chat)
Today at 07:23:17 am
List of MMO Games for 2020
by Dat D (General Chat)
Today at 04:29:28 am
humor
by LOCKSUIT (General AI Discussion)
September 23, 2020, 10:21:42 pm
Machine learning for fun and profit.
by infurl (AI Programming)
September 23, 2020, 12:53:45 am
Friday Funny
by LOCKSUIT (General Chat)
September 21, 2020, 12:46:55 am
what is the end game for AI ?
by frankinstien (General AI Discussion)
September 20, 2020, 11:34:13 pm
Releasing full AGI/evolution research
by LOCKSUIT (General Project Discussion)
September 20, 2020, 09:14:07 pm
A.I script writer
by yotamarker (General AI Discussion)
September 20, 2020, 02:59:52 pm
New model beats GPT3
by LOCKSUIT (AI News )
Today at 04:47:55 am
Robotic vacuum cleaner news.
by infurl (Robotics News)
September 22, 2020, 12:29:53 am
GPT-f SOTA AMTP
by infurl (AI News )
September 13, 2020, 12:56:47 am
Battle dogs!
by LOCKSUIT (Robotics News)
September 12, 2020, 04:27:46 pm
Artificial Intelligence Easily Beats Human Fighter Pilot in DARPA Trial
by LOCKSUIT (AI News )
September 12, 2020, 04:25:46 pm
Important memristor breakthrough.
by infurl (AI News )
September 07, 2020, 12:57:06 am
AllenAct for research in embodied AI
by infurl (AI News )
September 01, 2020, 01:27:35 am

Users Online

85 Guests, 1 User

Most Online Today: 127. Most Online Ever: 528 (August 03, 2020, 06:16:11 am)

Articles