Tools and Weapons with Brad Smith

By Microsoft, Brad Smith

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Microsoft President and Vice Chair Brad Smith speaks with leaders in government, business, and culture to explore the world’s most critical challenges at the intersection of technology and society. As a 30-year veteran of an industry driven by disruption, Brad Smith hosts candid conversations with his guests that examine, reframe, and explore potential solutions to the digital issues shaping our world today, including cybersecurity, privacy, digital inclusion, environmental sustainability, artificial intelligence, and human rights.

Episode Date
Kara Swisher: It’s time for tech to mature

When it comes to reporting on the tech industry, nothing escapes Kara Swisher.  For four decades, the influential journalist has used the power of her pen and microphone to not only report the news, but influence the events of the day. Sharing insights from her career, they explore patterns that help her see what’s coming in tech before others, the attributes of tech leaders that succeed, the adaptability of leading companies, and the need for regulation on an industry that has accrued a lot of power. 

Kara Swisher wrote her first technology story in 1980, for Georgetown University’s school paper – the subject was pay phones.  As one of the first reporters to cover the internet while at the Wall Street Journal, Kara Swisher’s early career-making coverage of the rise of Big Tech earned her the reputation of “Silicon Vally’s most feared and well-liked journalist.”  Since then, Swisher’s impact on the tech and media space has been undeniable:  she’s produced the country’s premier tech and media conference, executive-edited a major news website, and co-hosts the podcast Pivot for New York Magazine.  Throughout her career she’s interviewed major players in tech, politics and culture including Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Rupert Murdoch, Kim Kardashian, and President Barack Obama.  

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Aug 03, 2022
Mathias Döpfner: Can democracy survive without independent journalism?

Why does the head of a global media powerhouse still give his occupation as “journalist?” Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Axel Springer SE, is driven by deep convictions about journalism’s role in safeguarding democracy – a perspective forged in his youth after viewing the American miniseries Holocaust.

In this episode, Brad and Mathias dive into the worrying trends developing in democracies around the world and how technology can reduce – or amplify – the danger. They discuss how new business models can strengthen digital journalism, their shared belief in the power of truth, and what he believes is the one precondition for great quality journalism.

Dr. Mathias Döpfner is the CEO of Axel Springer SE, the largest publishing house in Europe. He started his career as a journalist in 1982 and has been with the company since 1998, initially as editor-in-chief of Axel Springer’s flagship daily newspaper, Die Welt (The World). Döpfner became a member of the Executive Board in 2000 and has been CEO since January 2002. Since Döpfner became CEO, Axel Springer’s revenues from its digital initiatives have increased twenty-fold, and its worldwide digital audience expanded to more than 400 million users. An active public speaker, Döpfner is engaged in efforts to preserve freedom and the free press for democratic societies. He is also a member of the board of directors of Netflix and Warner Music.

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Jul 27, 2022
Kai-Fu Lee: How AI teaches us what it means to be human

In 2017, leading AI expert Kai-Fu Lee shared a dire prediction: half of all jobs – both blue collar and white collar – could be automated within ten years, replacing the workforce with solutions built on artificial intelligence. Brad and Kai-Fu discuss what this coming change means for national economies and for people who care about their work. Kai-Fu lays out practical steps policy makers can take today to prepare, the three areas he believes human intelligence will continue to lead, and why he remains an AI optimist.

Dr. Kai-Fu Lee has driven innovation in AI research and development for over three decades. He is the Chairman and CEO of Sinovation Ventures and President of Sinovation Venture’s Artificial Intelligence Institute. Prior to founding Sinovation in 2009, Dr. Lee was the President of Google China, and a senior executive at Microsoft, SGI, and Apple. In the field of AI, Dr. Lee built one of the first game playing programs to defeat a world champion, as well as the world’s first large-vocabulary, speaker-independent continuous speech recognition system. His bestselling book AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order discusses US-China co-leadership in the age of AI, as well as the greater societal impacts wrought by the AI technology revolution. His new co-authored book AI 2041 explores how AI will change our world over the next 20 years.

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Jul 20, 2022
Thomas Friedman: It's not what we know, but how well we listen

Thomas Friedman believes if you want to understand human nature, live with people in extreme situations. And if you want to know the future, hang around people inventing it.  As a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Thomas Friedman has spent a career reporting from a civil war in Beirut, observing some of the world’s leading companies from the inside, and discovering that the key to understanding globalization is studying the only system that mirrors it in complexity – nature.  In this episode Brad and Thomas explore how our biggest challenges in society are tied to the environment and the economy, and how the key to our future hinges not on what we know, but on how well we listen.

Thomas Friedman is an internationally renowned author, reporter, and columnist. He is the recipient of three Pulitzer Prizes—two for international reporting from the Middle East and a third for his columns written about 9/11. He started his journalism career with United Press International in 1978. After serving as a Beirut reporter for UPI for two years, Friedman was hired by the New York Times in 1981, where he served as the Beirut bureau chief, Jerusalem bureau chief, chief diplomatic correspondent, international economics correspondent and, since 1995, its foreign affairs columnist. He is the author of seven New York Times bestsellers — From Beirut to Jerusalem; The Lexus and the Olive Tree; Longitudes and Attitudes; The World Is Flat; Hot, Flat, and Crowded; That Used to Be Us (with Michael Mandelbaum); and, most recently, Thank You For Being Late.

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Jul 13, 2022
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern: Can we work together to end violent extremism online?

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is determined to stop the spread of extremism and radicalization online. In the aftermath of the 2019 terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch, she saw the livestream of the tragedy go viral across social media feeds, including her own. In response, she led the creation of the Christchurch Call, a commitment by governments and tech companies to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online. In this episode, Brad and Prime Minister Ardern discuss the Christchurch Call, how algorithms fan the flames of extremism and the need to address misinformation to create a stronger, more connected society.

Since being elected Prime Minister of New Zealand in 2017, Jacinda Ardern has placed wellbeing at heart of her Government’s work. Along with holding the Child Poverty Reduction portfolio, she has championed efforts to tackle long-term challenges like climate change, social inequality, and unaffordable housing. She entered Parliament in 2008 as a list MP, and was later elected to represent the Mount Albert electorate. During this time, she was responsible for a wide range of policy areas, including Social Development, Arts, Culture and Heritage, Children, Justice, and Small Business. Throughout her career, she has been a strong advocate for children, women, and the right to meaningful work.

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Jul 06, 2022
Trevor Noah: Who do you trust (when you don’t trust the news)?

Since his first night anchoring The Daily Show in 2015, Trevor Noah has used comedy to connect the dots between local events and global issues. In this episode, Brad and Trevor discuss the intersection of the news of the day and technology.  Focusing on the rise of disinformation, they explore how we become susceptible to it, the threat of ”cybertribes”  that dehumanize and pit groups of people against each other, and how automobile regulation in the U.S. could hold answers to fixing the bugs that lead to disinformation’s viral spread.  

Trevor Noah is Africa’s most successful comedian and is the host of the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, where he uses incisive humor to address some of today’s thorniest issues, from race to politics and climate change. Born in Apartheid-era Johannesburg to parents of different races, Noah was, as the title of his autobiographical book reflects, Born a Crime. Noah began his career in South Africa in 2002 and took over hosting duties of The Daily Show in 2015. In 2020, Noah received a Grammy nomination for Best Comedy Album for Trevor Noah: Son of Patricia. In 2019, The Daily Show received two Primetime Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Variety Talk Series and Outstanding Interactive Program. In 2018, Time Magazine named Noah one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

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Jul 06, 2022
Coming Soon: Tools and Weapons

With things heating up around the world—environmentally, socially, and politically, now is the time to discuss the role technology plays – for good and bad – as we work together to solve our biggest challenges.  

Microsoft President and Vice Chair Brad Smith speaks with leaders in government, business, and culture to explore the world’s most critical issues at the intersection of technology and society.

Brad Smith is Microsoft's president and vice chair, leads a team of more than 1,900 business, legal and corporate affairs professionals working in 56 countries. He plays a key role in spearheading the company’s work to advance trust, inclusion, fundamental human rights, and environmental sustainability.
The Australian Financial Review has described Smith as "one of the technology industry's most respected figures," and the  New York Times has called him "a de facto ambassador for the technology industry at large." Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Click here for the episode transcript.

Jun 30, 2022