The Indian-origin boss of one of the world's biggest software giants was delivering a keynote address at the Microsoft Future Decoded conference in London on Thursday when he focussed his speech on privacy, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence (AI) among the key aspects of an increasingly digital landscape.
"All of us will have to think about the digital experiences we create to really treat privacy as a human right," Nadella said.
"We need to use our collective prowess and power to protect these most vulnerable of populations, and it requires not just our industry but also nation states to be part of that," he said.
The 51-year-old tech whiz was all praise for Europe's recently-implemented General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which impose stringent online privacy standards. "GDPR as a piece of legislation, a piece of regulation is a great start. We think about it as something that sets the standard, the bar, for how people need to think about privacy worldwide," he said. The Microsoft boss covered a range of issues during his keynote address, including the scope offered by AI to impact modern day lives and moving the cloud under water.
"When you have some AI capability and it's trained for one purpose but used for another purpose, that's an unethical use of it," he warned.
As a positive impact AI could have, he used one of Microsoft's biggest UK clients – the state-funded National Health Service (NHS) – as an example of how it could cut costs in the future with the use of artificial intelligence.
He said: "If you talk about any improvement of the economy here (Britain), there's no way you're going to think about it without taming the ever-increasing costs of healthcare.
"New tools could change how care is given, how the patient is informed and most importantly the trajectory of healthcare costs going up." On Thursday, the company announced it has struck a deal to supply all of NHS Scotland's 161,000 employees with Office 365 and Windows 10 E5.
Nadella also touched upon underwater server farms are part of the American giant's plans for future data centres.
Under "Project Natick", Mictosoft has deployed a 40-foot waterproof data centre pod on the seafloor off the coast of Scotland.
"Since 50 per cent of the world's population lives close to water bodies, we think this is the way we want to think about future data centre expansion," he said.
The senior executive opened his speech by congratulating his company for "building out Azure as the world's computer". He highlighted the 54 regions around the globe in which the cloud infrastructure operates, highlighting that the number was "more than any other provider".