Microsoft Build 2023: CEO Satya Nadella’s Boldest Statements
‘That’s why we innovate,’ Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says. ‘That’s why technology exists. It’s not for technology’s sake. But it is for that broad impact.’
Along with introducing the latest Microsoft offerings in generative artificial intelligence – including more resources for users to build their own generative AI tools – Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said during the vendor’s annual Build conference that developers don’t just work toward economic growth.
Developers, Nadella said during his keynote address Tuesday, work for the betterment of humanity.
“We want the lifespans to go up,” Nadella told a live audience in Seattle and watching online. “We want education and prosperity and standard of living to go up everywhere. That’s why we build. That’s why we innovate. That’s why technology exists. It’s not for technology’s sake. But it is for that broad impact … Things that we build can in fact make a difference to 8 billion people.”
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Talks AI At Build 2023
Among the technological advancements introduced during Build 2023 by Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft is more access to generative artificial intelligence “copilots” across the Microsoft product suite, and embracing of plugins to give developers more generative AI options and more AI-powered security offerings.
Advancements to Azure unveiled during Build 2023 include a preview for Azure AI Content Safety, the general availability of ready-to-use document and conversation summarization for Azure Cognitive Service for Language, and the reveal of Microsoft Fabric, which Nadella called “the biggest launch of a data product from Microsoft since the launch of SQL Server.”
“Most interestingly, it unifies the business model across all the different types of analytics workloads, whether they’re SQL, machine learning – whatever job you want, you can use the same compute infrastructure,” Nadella said. “And this unification, at the end of the day, is what I think will fuel the next generation of AI applications.”
Here’s more of Nadella’s keynote address from Build 2023.
ChatGPT ‘A Mosaic Moment’
The other thing I’ve always loved is (Steve) Jobs’ description of computers as bicycles for the mind. It’s sort of a beautiful metaphor. I think it captures the sense of what computing is.
But then last November we got an upgrade. We went from the bicycle to the steam engine with the launch of ChatGPT. It was like the Mosaic moment for this generation of the AI platform.
And now we look forward to, as developers, what we can do going forward. And so it’s an exciting time. And, in fact, every layer of the software stack is going to be changed forever. … It’s not like I came in on Jan. 1 and said, ‘Let’s start doing press releases.’ But it does feel like that.
It does feel like every week there is something new. And infusing this new AI stack across all layers of it.
So we started with … Copilot in GitHub. Recently, copilot in Power Platform. And when it comes to productivity, copilot in Microsoft 365. Copilot in Viva. Or with business processes, it’s the copilot in Dynamics 365.
When it comes to industry sort of workflows, what Nuance has done with DAX. Or the Security Copilot. Or the copilot, of course, for the web in Bing and Edge. Features in LinkedIn, which are driven by AI. And, of course, the AI infrastructure with Azure OpenAI APIs and everything else around it.
So every layer of the stack is profoundly changing.
The Copilot Stack
We’ve built all these copilots with one common architectural stack. We want to make that available so that everyone here can build their own copilot for their applications.
We will have everything from the AI infrastructure to the foundation models to the AI orchestration all the way up to your copilot and its extensibility.
In fact, the other thing that we’re going to do is have common extensibility across all of these surfaces. Whether it is ChatGPT, Bing Chat, Microsoft 365 Copilot or or all of the Microsoft copilots. And, of course, your own copilots. We can share the same extensibility model.
This is one of the most powerful things for you, all developers, for every developer, to be able to write a plugin and have it reach billions of users across all of these surface areas.
AI Studio Introduced
When we talk about the AI platform and the copilot stack, the next thing for us which is really exciting is AI Studio.
This is the full lifecycle toolchain for you to be able to build your intelligent AI apps and your copilots.
Everything from being able to train your own models to being able to then ground – whether it’s OpenAI or any open-source model – with data that you bring, built-in vector indexing in Azure Search, built-in support for RAG – or retrieval augmented generation – support. Or built-in support for prompt engineering with prompt flow and orchestration.
AI Safety ‘The Most Important Feature’
And, of course, built-in support for perhaps the most important feature, which is AI safety.
One of the things that we’ve been hard at work (doing) is to build into the toolchain AI safety. We’ve been at work on AI safety for the last five years.
We have principles, which we’ve translated into a core set of processes that we implement across our engineering stack. And then, of course, we have all of the compliance and oversight.
But the real challenge is not just to have these things outside the engineering process but to build it into the everyday toolchain. And that’s what we’re doing with AI Studio.
And it starts with testing. There is the responsible AI dashboard that helps you during the testing phase to ensure that what you’re developing is safe.
We have grounding. And, in fact, the prompt flow is, perhaps, one of the best features for you to be able to ground your models.
You have … media provenance … support for images and videos and watermarking for your neural voice. That’s going to be available to all of you as you build your applications. … We’ve taken all of the safety work we did – for example, for the launch of Bing Chat – and really made it available as just a set of features for any developer to use.
You can take an OSS (operational support system) model and use the AI safety service to really make it – at the deployment time – safe. And of course then you can even monitor the model for model drift. And that way then you can make sure that it’s not just the one time. But you’re continuously looking to make sure that you have safe deployment.
So we’re very excited about AI Studio helping every developer out here to be able to build AI applications – but build them with safety first.
Microsoft Fabric Unveiled
This is a product that we’ve been working very, very hard on over multiple years. And it’s finally coming together.
It’s perhaps the biggest launch of a data product from Microsoft since the launch of SQL Server.
It really brings together compute and storage. It unifies compute and storage. It unifies all of the full, analytic stack product experiences.
It brings together governance, so it unifies governance with analytics. And most interestingly, it unifies the business model across all the different types of analytics workloads, whether they’re SQL, machine learning – whatever job you want, you can use the same compute infrastructure.
And this unification, at the end of the day, is what I think will fuel the next generation of AI applications.