Season 3 - Ep. 18 | A Front Row Seat to the AI Revolution with Microsoft Vice Chair and President Brad Smith – Part 2

Redefiners Podcast
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December 13, 2023 | 27 min
Brad Smith
Microsoft Vice Chair and President

Season 3 - Ep. 18 | A Front Row Seat to the Digital Revolution with Microsoft Vice Chair and President Brad Smith – Part 2

Technology has the power to redefine business and the world. The printing press. The telephone. The automobile. The personal computer. The Internet. These are just a few inventions that have transformed how we work and live. And each invention came with both the promise and peril of a new technology that had the power to uplift society while also threatening the way things had been done for years before. Today we find ourselves at a pivotal moment in the introduction of another world-changing technology – artificial intelligence (AI) – that has been the hot topic in boardrooms, captured the attention of leaders and employees, and captivated consumers around the world.

In this episode of Redefiners, we continue our special two-part conversation with Microsoft Vice Chair and President Brad Smith, to dig into the complex issues around AI. Brad shares his thoughts on the scale of impact that AI will have, whether efficiency is more powerful than innovation, the promise and peril of technology, and how much leaders really need to learn before they leap. We’ll also talk with Brad about his view that every technology can be used as a tool and a weapon depending on who is using it, and the urgent need to find the right combination of private sector company responsibility and government regulation on a global scale.

We’ll also hear from Joe Ghory, a Managing Director in our Stamford, CT office, who shares the five key areas to help CEOs, boards, and senior technology leaders navigate the impact of generative AI on their organizations.

To learn more about Brad’s book, Tools and Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age, visit

And if you missed Part 1 of our conversation with Brad Smith, you can listen here.

If you enjoyed this episode, you might also like these Redefiners episodes: 



Brad Smith
Microsoft’s vice chair and president

As Microsoft’s vice chair and president, Brad Smith is responsible for spearheading the company’s work and representing it publicly on a wide variety of critical issues involving the intersection of technology and society, including artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, privacy, environmental sustainability, human rights, digital safety, immigration, philanthropy, and products and business for non-profit customers. He leads a team of roughly 2,000 business, legal and corporate affairs professionals located in 54 countries and operating in more than 120 nations.

In Smith’s bestselling book, coauthored with Microsoft’s Carol Ann Browne, Tools and Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age, he urges the tech sector to assume more responsibility and calls for governments to move faster to address the challenges that new technologies are creating. In his podcast by the same name, Smith and his guests expand on the themes in the book, exploring potential solutions to the digital issues shaping the world today. The New York Times has called Smith “a de facto ambassador for the technology industry at large” and The Australian Financial Review has described him as “one of the technology industry’s most respected figures.” He has testified numerous times before the U.S. Congress and other governments on these key policy issues.

Smith joined Microsoft in 1993, first spending three years in Paris leading the legal and corporate affairs team in Europe. In 2002, he was named Microsoft’s general counsel and spent the following decade leading work to resolve the company’s antitrust controversies with governments around the world and companies across the tech sector. Over the past decade, Smith has spearheaded the company’s work to advance privacy protection for Microsoft customers and the rights of DREAMers and other immigrants, including bringing multiple lawsuits against the U.S. government on these issues.

Prior to joining Microsoft, Smith was an associate and then partner at the law firm of Covington and Burling, where he is still remembered as the first attorney in the long history of the firm to insist (in 1986) on having a personal computer on his desk as a condition for accepting a job offer. In addition to his work at Microsoft, Smith is active in several civic organizations and in the broader technology industry. He has served on the Netflix board of directors since 2015 and chairs the board of directors of both Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) and the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship program.

Smith grew up in Appleton, Wisconsin, where Green Bay was the big city next door. He attended Princeton University, where he met his wife, Kathy. He earned his J.D. from Columbia University Law School and studied international law and economics at the Graduate Institute in Geneva, Switzerland. He can be followed on Twitter and LinkedIn. His podcast, Tools and Weapons with Brad Smith, is available on all podcast platforms.

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