Tech firms have been slow to accept that their power comes with great responsibility. Join Microsoft’s President as he reckons with the promise and peril of our digital future.
Microsoft President Brad Smith operates by a simple core belief: when your technology changes the world, you bear a responsibility to help address the world you have helped create. This might seem uncontroversial, but it flies in the face of a tech sector long obsessed with rapid growth and sometimes on disruption as an end in itself.
Now, though, we have reached an inflection point: Silicon Valley has moved fast and it has broken things. A new understanding has emerged that companies that create technology must accept greater responsibility for the future. And governments will need to regulate technology by moving faster and catching up with the pace of innovation that is impacting our communities and changing the world.
In this talk, Brad Smith will take us into the cockpit of one of the world’s largest and most powerful tech companies as it finds itself in the middle of some of the thorniest emerging issues of our time. These are challenges that come with no pre-existing playbook, including privacy, cybercrime and cyberwar, social media, the moral conundrums of AI, big tech’s relationship to inequality and the challenges for democracy, far and near.
Brad will open up the curtain remarkably wide onto some of the company’s most crucial recent decision points, as it strives to protect the hopes technology offers against the very real threats it also presents. Every tool can be a weapon in the wrong person’s hands, and companies are being challenged in entirely new ways to embrace the totality of their responsibilities.
We have moved from a world in which Silicon Valley could take no prisoners to one in which tech companies and governments must work together to address the challenges and adapt to the changes technology has unleashed. There are huge ramifications to be thought through, and Brad Smith will provide a marvellous and urgently necessary contribution to that effort.
Join us for a journey behind the scenes on some of the biggest stories to hit the tech industry in the past decade. From Edward Snowden’s NSA leak to the NHS WannaCry ransomware attack, this talk is essential for anyone hoping to understand what’s happening in the world around us.
Praise for Brad Smith:
“Perhaps more than any industry leader, Brad Smith understands that technology is a double-edged sword—unleashing incredible opportunity but raising profound questions about democracy, civil liberties, the future of work and international relations. Tools and Weapons tackles these and other questions in a brilliant and accessible manner. It is a timely book that should be read by anyone seeking to understand how we can take advantage of technology’s promise without sacrificing our freedom, privacy or security.” — Former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
“Coming from an industry driven by disruption, it’s refreshing to read Brad Smith’s call for the tech sector to assume more responsibility. In Tools and Weapons, Brad and Carol Ann Browne wrestle with some of the world’s toughest technology challenges with common sense and valuable insight reflecting their inside experience. The ideas in Tools and Weapons won’t solve all our problems, but they’re a very good place to start.” — Reed Hastings, CEO, Netflix
“Brad Smith has emerged as a vocal and principled thought leader addressing how technology can either help uphold or undermine human rights. As digital technology continues to proliferate, these issues will only grow in importance and command more of the world’s attention.” — Amal Clooney, international human rights lawyer and co-founder and president, Clooney Foundation for Justice