LeVar Burton joins Vasu Jakkal to share his hope for transformative technologies like generative AI

This post has been republished via RSS; it originally appeared at: Microsoft Tech Community - Latest Blogs - .

LeVar Burtonknown for his role as Chief Engineer Geordi La Forge in Star Trek and as the host and executive producer of the beloved PBS children's series Reading Rainbowrecently sat down for a one-on-one chat with CVP of Microsoft Security, Vasu Jakkal, to discuss the impact of generative AI on our world.


Figure 1: LeVar Burton- pop culture icon, content creator, and literacy advocateFigure 1: LeVar Burton- pop culture icon, content creator, and literacy advocate

The conversation began with a discussion of the impact of Star Trek on both speakers' lives. Burton spoke about how seeing actress Nichelle Nichols on the bridge of the USS Enterprise meant the world to him, as it showed him what creator Gene Roddenberry said was true: “When the future came, there would be a place for me.” Jakkal shared how Star Trek was a pivotal influence in her childhood and is in part responsible for her career in cybersecurity. "Star Trek is a perfect example of what we imagine is what we create in this realm. Human beings, we are manifesting machines,” said Burton. “And Star Trek has been responsible for helping to sow the seeds of germination for a lot of different technologies that are in use in our everyday lives today."


Figure 2: Vasu Jakkal and LeVar Burton discussing Star Trek's impact on technology and their hope for how generative AI will transform our world.Figure 2: Vasu Jakkal and LeVar Burton discussing Star Trek's impact on technology and their hope for how generative AI will transform our world.

Generative AI (GenAI) is the transformational technology of our generation. So, we asked LeVar Burton—one of the world’s foremost storytellers and champions of learning through his work in Reading Rainbow —to help us tell the story of how GenAI will improve education and opportunities for everyone across the globe. In addition to reshaping our everyday lives, our emails, and meetings, GenAI is changing how security work gets done. These new solutions—like Microsoft Copilot for Security—help SecOps professionals make sense of large amounts of data at machine speed. They simplify the complex to help defenders find a needle in the haystack, or even a specific needle in a needle stack. Jakkal also discussed how AI can help reduce the talent shortage in the security industry and make it more diverse. 


The Microsoft mission is to empower every person and organization in the world to achieve more. And the security mission is to build a safer world for all. Burton expressed his hope that generative AI will help in ways that we haven't thought of before, referencing the cultural shift that happened in just eight nights when the groundbreaking television miniseries Roots aired. "My hope, my prayer is that generative AI can help us educate our kids in ways that we haven't been able to and perhaps haven't even thought of,” stated Burton. He also emphasized the importance of making GenAI safe and accessible to all. Jakkal agreed, touching on the importance of responsibility when using AI, mentioning the Microsoft responsible AI framework—a set of steps to ensure AI systems uphold six principles: fairness, reliability and safety, privacy and security, inclusiveness, transparency, and accountability.  


Central to the conversation was the concept of hope, and hope for the future. Burton said the younger generation gives him hope, as they see the world and technology in a different way. Jakkal expressed her hope that we can use GenAI to change the world in a good way, by working together and being responsible. Jakkal closed the discussion by saying "I think collectively together we have to use generative AI and the technologies that we have to change this course. Storytelling, the narrative to change the narrative to one of optimism, to one of hope, to one of inclusion… for all and done by all."  


Watch the full video here: 

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