TRANSCRIPT: Microsoft President Brad Smith, keynote speaker at Pro Bono Net's 20th Anniversary event
BRAD SMITH: I did think I would talk a little bit to kick this off about technology and society. I think it's a great topic for this group because Pro Bono Net was founded to ensure that technology serves society and specifically the lawyers who are serving society.
And I think this is an interesting moment to step back and think about that because technology is not just ubiquitous in our lives, it's not just ubiquitous in every society around the world, but it is being used in so many different ways.
You see how technology is connecting pro bono lawyers with clients who may be in a different place, who may speak a different language so people can talk together, work together and even understand each other using natural language translation even if they don't speak the same language.
You see it in the legal navigator that Pro Bono Net is now championing and advancing, that Dave Heiner really led the work for us at Microsoft to help create together with the legal services corporation. Work, as many of you know, that is designed to make it easier for anybody who needs legal advice or support to start down the path of getting the answers they require by accessing them online. And what all of this I think causes us to realize is that one of the interesting ironies of the market for legal services is that it has a permanent, a perpetual gap between demand and supply.
So many markets in the world ultimately find a way to close the gap between supply and demand and yet, for legal services, there has never been an approach that has emerged. And therefore in a future with more artificial intelligence and with groups like this that understand how to put it to work, technology actually has an opportunity to be the great game changer.
And as we look ahead to the next three decades as our economy is defined by the changes that will be wrought by artificial intelligence, there may be few areas where there will opportunities to do more good than the good that all of you can do.
I think that the future of technology and society requires that we look at the problems technology is creating with our eyes wide open and that we understand what it means to a Patrick Ward or to an Albert Koontz and that we take the steps needed to solve those problems and do so in bigger and bolder ways.
But ultimately, I think the most exciting part of the future belongs to the Anne Taylors of the world. To the people in this room. The people who find new ways to use technology for good and find new ways to ensure that the law serves people the way we all want it to work.
So thank you for what you're doing, it's great to be here with you this evening.