Bill Gates

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is an American programmer, inventor, business magnate and philanthropist. Gates is the former chief executive and current chairman of Microsoft, the world’s largest personal-computer software company, which he co-founded with Paul Allen.

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thisisbillgates17984 karma

I sometimes wear a hat. For example when I did college tours with my son I wanted the focus to be totally on him. A lot less people recognize me when I have a hat on or else they realize I am trying to be incognito.

Mostly when people do recognize me they are super nice so I don't feel it is a burden to be noticed most of the time.

thisisbillgates14822 karma

The big milestone is when computers can read and understand information like humans do. There is a lot of work going on in this field - Google, Microsoft, Facebook, academia,... Right now computers don't know how to represent knowledge so they can't read a text book and pass a test.

Another whole area is vaccines. We need a vaccine for HIV, Malaria and TB and I hope we have them in the next 10-15 years.

thisisbillgates13744 karma

I would explain that smartness is not single dimensional and not quite as important as I thought it was back then. I would say you might explore the developing world before you get into your forties. I wasn't very good socially back then but I am not sure there is advice that would fix that - maybe I had to be awkward and just grow up....

thisisbillgates12178 karma

No. Perhaps a small chair - a stool. I do exercise and ski but my main sport is tennis which doesn't involve jumping. Some people jump over the net but that isn't part of the sport.

thisisbillgates11355 karma

Philanthropy is small as a part of the overall economy so it can't do things like fund health care or education for everyone. Government and the private sector are the big players so philanthropy has to be more innovative and fund pilot programs to help the other sectors. A good example is funding new medicines or charter schools where non-obvious approaches might provide the best solution.

One thing that is a challenge for our Foundation is that poor countries often have weak governance - small budgets, and the people in the ministries don't have much training. This makes it harder to get things done.

If we had more money we could do more good things - even though we are the biggest foundation we are still resource limited.

Edit: We discuss this in our annual letter this year: www.gatesletter.com

thisisbillgates10678 karma

A lot of people feel a sense of isolation. I still wonder if digital tools can help people find opportunities to get together with others - not Tinder but more like adults who want to mentor kids or hang out with each other. It is great that kids go off and pursue opportunities but when you get communities where the economy is weak and a lot of young people have left then something should be done to help.

thisisbillgates9766 karma

Warren Buffett has always said the measure is whether the people close to you are happy and love you. It is also nice to feel like you made a difference - inventing something or raising kids or helping people in need.

thisisbillgates9718 karma

Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger.

thisisbillgates7425 karma

Good question. I think having parents and teachers reinforce your curiosity and explain what they are fascinated with makes a big difference. A lot of people lose their curiosity as they get older which is a shame. One thing that helps nowadays is that if you get confused about something it is easier than ever to find an article or video to make things clear.

thisisbillgates7322 karma

This is a great question. I felt sure that allowing anyone to publish information and making it easy to find would enhance democracy and the overall quality of political debate. However the partitioning you talk about which started on cable TV and might be even stronger in the digital world is a concern. We all need to think about how to avoid this problem. It would seem strange to have to force people to look at ideas they disagree with so that probably isn't the solution. We don't want to get to where American politics partitions people into isolated groups. I am interested in anyones suggestion on how we avoid this.