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Microsoft's Nadella says we need to prevent '1984'

The tech industry has a duty to design products in a way that won't result in a dystopian future, says the Microsoft CEO.

Satya Nadella


Between the disclosures about the NSA, CIA and FBI's hacking tools, and the increasingly detailed ways advertisers tracks us on the internet, you'd be forgiven for feeling the world's descending into a weird dystopian sci-fi version of itself.

You also wouldn't be alone.

Satya Nadella, Microsoft's CEO, said during a speech Wednesday at Microsoft's Build developer conference in Seattle that he believed it's the tech industry's job to keep a truly terrible future, as imagined in George Orwell's "1984" and Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World," from happening.

"What Orwell prophesied in '1984,' where technology was being used to monitor, control, dictate," Nadella said. "Or what Huxley imagined we may do just by distracting ourselves without any meaning or purpose. Neither of these futures is something that we want."

So, he asked, what are we going to do?

He proposed a set of principles that the technology could follow, such as empowering people and keeping them in the loop about what their technology can do.

"There are unintended consequences of technology," he said. "It is up to us to ensure that some of the more dystopian scenarios don't come true."