Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft Corp., reacts during a panel session at the World Economic Forum in Davos. (Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg).

Davos 2019: Satya Nadella Calls For Regulation Of Facial Recognition Technology

There's no discrimination between the right use and the wrong use of facial recognition, said Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella, welcoming regulation of the facial recognition technology.

“We have self-regulation when it comes to issues like facial recognition, but at the same time, we also welcome any regulation,” said Nadella during a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

While acknowledging the importance of self-regulation to ensure “fair and robust” use of facial recognition, Nadella said that government rules may also be needed. “If you turn it just to private enterprise, what happens is many times, we will have a race to the bottom, and then we will have to come back to deal with the bad consequences with even more heavy-handed regimes.”

Calling the General Data Protection Regulation a fantastic start on treating privacy as a human right, Nadella said there are growing concerns around the ethics of data protection. “We need to start from the core principle that the user is in control of his/her data.” He also hoped for a framework like the GDPR in the United States.

I would hope that the world over, we all converge on a common standard, because one of the things that we do not want to do is to fragment the world, and increase transaction costs, because ultimately, it’s going to be borne in our economic figure.
Satya Nadella, chief executive officer, Microsoft

Just like electricity was democratised in the previous industrial revolution, the same thing needs to happen with data, said Nadella, calling it the next factor of production.

Globalisation 4.0

The last phase of globalisation, he said, achieved some real rules and framework and global norms. “So, this next phase of globalisation should not be ‘let’s return to a world where there are no global norms’, but there needs to be a revised list of global norms, realising that there are real differences.”

Sometimes, I think in the digital world, we have made naïve assumptions that there is uniformity, not recognising, I think, the legitimate needs people have for their cultural identities, their different approaches, their different priorities. 

The real challenge, Nadella said, will be to achieve inclusive growth, because even if there is economic and productivity growth, there might be a decoupling of wages and jobs, and these are the challenges that will need to be addressed.

What I’ve come to realise is that every country is going to put their country’s interest first. They should. No country should be hollered out in the middle. If every country puts its interest first, guess what. We live in one globe.

He said that instead of narrowly viewing what is digital, we should go back to the comparative advantage that has always existed in different parts of the world, to add value and drive economic growth.

Watch the full interview here.