Yesterday, arguably the most successful person to ever walk the planet engaged in a very interesting Reddit AMA, where he answered questions ranging from politics to technology to morals to whether or not he ever makes himself a sandwich or has a robot do it. Once the richest person alive, Gates has invested a large chunk of his wealth into the foundation he founded with his wife, Melinda. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the world’s largest private charity and aims to cure infectious diseases around the world, including HIV, malaria, and polio.
Gates, who is still worth $90 billion, slummed it with your everyday interneters yesterday and here are five intriguing takeaways.
What technology are you most looking forward to in the next 10 years and what impact do you think it could have?
The most amazing thing will be when computers can read and understand the text like humans do. Today computers can do simple things like search for specific words but concepts like vacation or career or family are not “understood”. Microsoft and others are working on this to create a helpful assistant. It has always been kind of a holy grail of software particularly now that vision and speech are largely solved. Another frontier is robotics where the human ability to move and manipulate is amazing and experts disagree on whether it will take just a decade or a lot longer (Brooks) to achieve the equivalent.
What do you feel/know that is one very solvable problem that society (or most likely, government) is ignoring?
I think that health care costs, education and poverty/mobility deserve a lot more thinking and innovation than they get today. The benefit of getting these things right would be amazing. With all the talk about inequity it is interesting that we still work on vertical areas like health, education, housing, food, etc.. as separate things rather than having a full view of the challenges someone faces.
Who is your favorite celebrity?
Melinda and Warren are my two favorites followed by Bono. Most celebrities I don’t know very well. I do get to meet a lot of political leaders and Nelson Mandela was the most impressive ever. Jimmy Carter is also amazing.
What is your opinion on cryptocurrencies?
The main feature of crypto currencies is their anonymity. I don’t think this is a good thing. The Governments ability to find money laundering and tax evasion and terrorist funding is a good thing. Right now crypto currencies are used for buying fentanyl and other drugs so it is a rare technology that has caused deaths in a fairly direct way. I think the speculative wave around ICOs and crypto currencies is super risky for those who go long.
Is it true that if I forward the email in my inbox to 100 people you will give me money?
Check out the entire AMA here.