Microsoft wants to turn digital "disruption into opportunity" for its customers and partners, according to UK CEO Cindy Rose.
Speaking at Microsoft's Future Decoded event at London's ExCel centre, Rose (pictured) said that like all businesses globally, Microsoft itself is "not immune from the waves of disruption" that the world is seeing a digital transformation.
"Our view is that the digital business is a business that embraces technology to more effectively engage its customer, to empower its employees, optimise its operations and transform the products and services they offer - all in a way that turns disruption into opportunity," she said to around 5,000 attendees in her keynote.
"For these reasons and so many others we truly believe that we are on the cusp of a fourth industrial revolution and while that's a cause for optimism and hope, we know that all revolutions pose difficult questions as well - for instance, what will bots and automation mean for jobs, equality, privacy and public safety?"
A central theme of all the Microsoft speakers during the open day's keynotes was that the vendor is in no way looking to create technologies that replace people with robots.
Rose herself said that it is important to make sure employees receive the necessary training to make sure they are "not left behind" by the emergence of AI. "Machines need to complement people, not replace them," added Chris Bishop, lab director at Microsoft's research centre in Cambridge.
Microsoft claimed that its research found that five million jobs globally will be gone by 2020 as a result of digital transformation, with one digital job replacing the job of four people. It claims that the figure rises to 20 when analysing the types of roles typically filled by women.
Following Rose's keynote the audience was given a whirlwind tour of how Microsoft is experimenting with AI and machine learning, include a demonstration showing how a radiologist could use its technology to highlight a patient's brain tumour in a matter of seconds - a process that would previously have taken hours. Earlier this year Microsoft boldly claimed that it was aiming to cure cancer in the next 10 years using its machine-learning technology.
The morning's keynotes were concluded by Philip Hammond who outlined in greater detail the government's £1.9m cybersecurity scheme which will run for five years until 2021.
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