January 11, 2024
Vice Chair and President, Microsoft
Chief Legal Officer and Executive Vice President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Brad Smith, Vice Chair and President of Microsoft, joined State of American Business 2024 to discuss AI’s potential and how its responsible development and deployment can improve lives and drive innovation. Smith began by talking about the journey businesses have taken to adopt AI technology in their operations and leverage it to be more successful.
Specifically, he noted that businesses are primarily using AI in three ways:
- One “is customized applications that use AI to really change or improve the fundamental business processes that are sort of core to their business.”
- Second, “businesses are starting to use [AI] across what [you] might call all of their back-office functions— HR, legal finance, they're using it to change the way their salesforce works.”
- Third is AI tools that change "the way people do their jobs from a productivity and worker productivity perspective."
To enable businesses to utilize these tools responsibly, Smith emphasized that “the key is to strike the right balance” in the regulation of AI and recognize “that we have an innovation-led economy, and we need innovation to flourish.”
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According to Smith, the American free enterprise system is about harnessing the synergy among the private, public, and non-profit sectors and enabling individuals and businesses to create new products that benefit the world.
“Maybe you create it by starting a business that doesn't exist,” Smith said. “Maybe you work for an existing business, and you create a product that doesn't exist. Or maybe you're working on an existing product, but you create a new feature, or a new benefit, or a new business model. But it is that fundamental ability to create, that is extraordinary. … When you talk to people in business, we like they are fundamentally most days doing our best work [when we are] focused on making our community or country in the world a better place.”
From the Series