Microsoft Suggests Ways Technology Can Improve Lives

Brad Smith, President of Microsoft, shared thoughts on the U.S. election. The main idea of the blog post is “building new bridges”. He points out some ways that technology can be used to improve lives and heal a divided country.

Here is a summarized version of Microsoft’s ideas:

Broadband has become the electricity of the 21st century, vital for everything from patients needing telehealth consultations to children who are attending school from home. Today, too many rural families find there is no broadband service available, while too many underprivileged urban families find no broadband service that is affordable. A nation that would not tolerate millions of Americans living without electricity should no longer accept millions of families without broadband.

Technology-fueled automation increasingly impacts all of our jobs. Digital tools, data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) have the potential to make almost all of us in every job category more successful – but only if we have easier access to the new digital skills that are increasingly indispensable to the jobs of the future. … We need to make digital skills available to everyone.

Across the political spectrum, Americans share not just a commitment to, but a reverence for, democracy. …At Microsoft, this led us this election cycle to work across the political aisle to protect Republican and Democratic candidates alike. We conclude this election year even more convinced of the importance of using technology to protect not just the democratic process, but our fundamental freedoms. More than ever, we need ongoing technology innovation and stronger partnerships across the public and private sectors to better defend democracy.

…People of all political backgrounds care deeply about the privacy of their data and the security of their internet services. … Yet we continue to live with a national electronic privacy law enacted in the dial-up era of the 1980s, and when it comes to issues such as safeguards for facial recognition, we have no national law at all. We need new laws fit for the future.

…Regardless of political party, people want our economy to prosper. … We believe that technology innovation needs to create more business opportunities for every part of the economy as well as ushering in a new era for enhanced public sector services and efficiencies.

This is the first blog post I’ve seen since the winner of the 2020 presidential election was announced, that offers some actionable suggestions about how to make the people’s lives better. It appears to call upon lawmakers, and perhaps business leaders as well, to make these changes. The incoming administration could make use of these ideas.