Microsoft (MSFT) CEO Satya Nadella is planning a trip to India in February to meet some of the country’s prominent Indian A.I. startups, according to Indian financial news site Moneycontrol.com, citing an internal email from a few weeks ago.
“A.I. is playing a game-changing role in shaping ‘India’s Techade’ and will make India and South Asia one of the most exciting markets for technology,” read the email, written by Puneet Chandok, Microsoft’s president of India and South Asia operations.
Nadella, who was born and raised in India, last visited his home country in January 2023 to speak on a number of Microsoft’s business initiatives in India and South Asia. At a summit in Mumbai, Nadella predicted A.I. would “augment every one of us in whatever it is that we are doing.”
“Every frontline worker will be able to do more knowledge work than they ever did. Every design task, whether it’s software engineering, mechanical design, architecture, is going to be that much more productive going forward,” Nadella told an audience of tech leaders at the event.
Also last year, Nadella met with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the U.S. during his state visit. The Microsoft CEO promised Modi that his company is “deeply committed to the growth of Indian technology…particularly artificial intelligence.” (Modi also met with Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai during his visit.)
A year later, a more pressing topic in A.I. is the safety of the technology. According to Moneycontrol’s reporting, Nadella plans on meeting with Indian A.I. startups including Sarvam and Krutrim, among other early-stage companies. Krutrim, founded by Bhavish Aggarwal, recently crossed the $1 billion valuation threshold, making it India’s first unicorn A.I. startup.
This week, Nadella condemned the tech industry for not taking A.I. “deepfakes” more seriously after A.I.-generated, sexually explicit images of the singer-songwriter Taylor Swift went viral on multiple social media platforms last week. In an interview with NBC News’s Lester Holt that aired today, he said those images were “alarming and terrible.”
“I think we all benefit when the online world is a safe world. And so I don’t think anyone would want an online world that is completely not safe for both content creators and content consumers,” Nadella said in the interview. “So therefore, I think it behooves us to move fast on this.”