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Microsoft’s Satya Nadella says artificial intelligence could create more jobs, not just eliminate them

It’s not all bad, Nadella says.

CEO of Microsoft Satya Nadella speaks onstage during the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on October 2, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Artificial intelligence software is automating a lot of jobs that used to require human beings.

The technology is getting so smart, that Tesla’s Elon Musk is legitimately scared it could eventually take over. Other tech leaders, like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, disagree.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella? He thinks AI could actually add more jobs for humans — at least among certain demographics.

“We should have a very clear view of what automation does to displacement and we should get to it, but one of the things I also hope is we can take advantage of AI to get more people into the workforce,” Nadella said Tuesday at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit in Los Angeles.

Nadella talked about how AI could be used to help people who have disabilities, like hearing or visual impairments. He specifically mentioned a camera app from Microsoft, called Seeing, which narrates the things seen through a person’s smartphone camera, essentially providing visuals for those who have visual impairments.

“This is enabling someone who works at Microsoft today to more fully participate,” he added. “There are a lot of things we can do like that that are empowering people.”

AI is one of the three future-thinking technology areas that Microsoft is focusing on. The other two: mixed reality, similar to augmented reality in that it projects virtual objects onto the real world, and quantum computing.

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