File photo of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella delivering keynote address at the company’s ‘Tech For Good, Ideas for India’ event in New Delhi, May 2016. (Shahbaz Khan/PTI)

India’s Aadhaar identity system rivals the growth of other platform innovations like Windows, Android or Facebook, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has said. Asserting that every piece of technology should help embellish the capability of human beings, Nadella says technology should not degrade humanity but provide new levels of inclusiveness, writes Lalit K. Jha.

India’s Aadhaar Rivals Growth of Windows, Android, Facebook

Nadella, in his book ‘Hit Refresh,’ which was released during the Microsoft Ignite 2017 conference, has praised India’s leap forward in the digital and technological arena.

“Aadhaar now has scaled to over one billion people, rivaling the growth of other platform innovations such as Windows, Android or Facebook,” the 50-year-old wrote in his book that hit the stands recently.

He praised the creation of the new digital ecosystem IndiaStack.

IndiaStack is a set of APIs (application programming interface) that allows governments, businesses, startups and developers to utilize a unique digital Infrastructure to solve India’s hard problems towards presence-less, paperless and cashless service delivery.

“China strategically used the global supply chain and their own domestic market to amplify their comparative advantage and bootstrap their economic growth, the India-born CEO noted.

“The combination of industrial policy, public sector investment, and entrepreneurial energy is what many other countries will also look to replicate from China’s success. I see the beginnings of this in India with the creation of the new digital ecosystem known as IndiaStack, Nadella said.

File photo of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in discussion with EkStep co-founder and chairman Nandan Nilekani during an event on startup stalwarts of India about digital information, intelligent cloud, AI, in Bengaluru, February 2017. (Shailendra Bhojak/PTI)

“India is leapfrogging from once being an infrastructure-poor country to now leading in digital technology. IndiaStack ushers in a presence-less, cashless, paperless economy for all its citizens,” said Nadella.

In his book, Nadella wrote that on a trip to Bengaluru he engaged in a conversation with Nandan Nilekani about IndiaStack and its future road map.

“Nandan is the legendary founder of Infosys, who went on to create a new startup working with the Indian Government- Aadhaar-the identity system that is at the center of IndiaStack,” he said.

Nadella has also mentioned about Enlightiks, a startup that was acquired by Practo, a leading e-health company in India.

“I met the founder of Enlightiks on the same trip to Bengaluru. They are using the latest cloud technology and AI from Microsoft to create a state-of-the-art health care diagnostics service that can, for example, detect an Atrial fibrillation event before it happens because of the rich data going from the personal device of the patient directly to the cloud, he said.

“In turn, this cloud service can be made available to hospitals in smaller towns or rural areas in India. Enlightiks also has plans to take advantage of IndiaStack to authenticate the user, accept payment, create portal medical records, and much more. This Indian innovation is now looking to expand in the U.S., Africa and everywhere else, he wrote.

According to Nadella, this dynamic is not unique to China or India.

“I saw this across Chile, Indonesia, and Poland, and also in France, Germany, and Japan. Reflecting on my earlier visit to Egypt, it’s clear they are investing in human capital,” he said.

File photo of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella speaking at a Microsoft event in New Delhi, May 30, 2016. (Money Sharma/AFP/Getty Images)

Technology should Empower People, Be Accessible

As we talk about technology, one of the things we need in particular as technologists and decision-makers, is to keep in mind the timeless values that drive what we do. How are we going to use technology to empower people?” Nadella said in a keynote address at the Ignite conference in Orlando, Fla., Sept. 25.

He said that every piece of technology should help embellish the capability of human beings.

“We definitely want more productivity and efficiency, but we do not want to degrade humanity,” he said. “We want technology to provide new levels of inclusiveness. In fact, I’m most excited about accessibility.”

“How can we bring more people into as full participants in our society, in our economy, using technology? How can we make sure that there’s no bias built into technology?” Nadella said as he stressed on empowering every person.

“How can we build trust in how we secure data, privacy, control and transparency?” he asked.

“These timeless values and this opportunity of digital transformation is what grounds us at Microsoft in our mission—our mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more,” he said.

File photo of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in Bengaluru, February 2017. (Shailendra Bhojak/PTI)

This is something that Microsoft takes very seriously—each word in this mission, he said. “The ability to really make sure that we’re not only thinking about the person, but the institutions people build,” he added.

“We think about it at the global scale, but most importantly, for us, it’s not about our technology, it is about what you can do with technology to create your own technology, to have real impact in moving our society and economy forward. That’s what is central to our mission,” Nadella said.

“In fact, technology trends and paradigms will come and go, but what will center us is this sense of purpose and mission?” he noted.

Nadella said that this is a time where the profound impact of technology in everything that people do is so much deeper, so much broader, whether one is talking about precision agriculture, or precision medicine, the future of connected products, smart cities or smarter factories.

“There isn’t a single industry that isn’t being transformed. We collectively have the opportunity to lead in this transformation,” he said.

“Where before we held a worldview of a mobile-first, cloud-first world, that worldview is evolving to the new technology paradigm of the intelligent cloud and the intelligent edge,” he said.

He said three characteristics define this shift: the move to multi-device, multi-sensory interactions; artificial intelligence driving predictive insights across devices; and a new fabric of server-less, or distributed, computing power.

File photo of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at the company’s flagship technology and business conference “Future Decoded” in Mumbai, February 2017. (Santosh Hirlekar/PTI)

In this new era, Microsoft is building systems of intelligence, virtuous cycles and new feedback loops that help create data and refine how one reasons over this data to gain insights from information.

Aiming to empower people within an organization, he said Microsoft is taking it a step further, to ensure they are also transforming the processes and functions surrounding them.

Bing for Business combines data from the enterprise with public web results to produce a seamless experience that’s intelligent, personal and contextual, he said.