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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella: We need to do to data what we did with electricity

Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. Photo: WEF
Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. Photo: WEF

Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft (MSFT), just delivered his vision for the future of data.

Speaking to Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, Nadella said he sees data touching every part of society. He outlined how we need to approach the implementation of it in every sector in order to grow the global economy.

“One of the things that’s going to happen in the Fourth Industrial Revolution is that data and digital technology is a new factor of production. Whether you’re in retail, healthcare or insurance, any sector, economy or walk of our lives is going to be driven by digital and data,” Nadella said.


“Just like electricity, which was democratised, available, and fuelled economic growth and productivity and growth in the previous industrial revolution, the same thing needs to happen with data.

“For example, at Microsoft, it’s a platform company,” Nadella said. “I actually think of our job is not to create a dependence on Microsoft. If anything, we want to partner with companies in every country, in every region, so they can create independence for themselves in an era of digital technology.”

“We’ve got to think as data as a human right, and privacy as a human right. That’s the world I envision.”

During their conversation, Schwab asked Nadella if he thought data privacy was currently sufficiently protected.

“I think we have the right start. If you think about the change in the last year, with GDPR, there is a complete new realisation of how important it is for all of us to say we have to start with the core principle that the user is in control of their data,” Nadella said.

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